Stupid Behaviors #6 & #7: Failure to Communicate and Talk First, Listen Later
By Peter Barron Stark | November 2nd, 2009 | Leadership
This is part four in our series, “11 Stupid Things That Managers Do to Mess Up Workplace Excellence.” So far we have gone over the first five Stupid Behaviors of Managers:
- Inability to Control Emotions
- Impulsive Decisions
- Blaming Others
- It’s All About Me
- If You Think Today is Bad, Just Wait!
The next two Stupid Behaviors are Failure to Communicate and Talk First, Listen Later:
This stupid behavior is attributed to managers who think their employees don’t need to know … much of anything. They just need to do their jobs and shut up. For all of you who aspire to this theory of only telling employees the minimum they need to know to complete their jobs, here’s what you already know: what you don’t tell them, they find out anyway from other employees who work for bosses who practice good communication and are committed to frequently communicating timely information with their employees. When your employees find out information from others, they don’t think much of you for keeping secrets from them.
Managers who add another level to stupid communication behaviors, talk at employees and are not open to employee input. In this situation, communication is one-way, boss to employee. Combine not telling employees much, and then not listening to them, and you’ve got a predictable disaster just waiting to happen. In this scenario, sit back and watch the surprises begin.
Stupid behavior #7 conveys, “I’m the boss and you’re not. So, I get to do all the talking.” True, most managers would never utter such a phrase, but many display behaviors that express the same message. These talkers miss opportunities to hone their leadership skills as they open their mouths, express their opinions and are frequently off target. Rather than ask questions to gain insights that will get them closer to effectively accomplishing their goals, they tell, tell, tell.
There are three reasons why these managers don’t listen well.
- They don’t want to know, feeling that they already are the experts on the subject and don’t need new information.
- They don’t need to listen to others because they already have all the answers.
- They have a strong need to control the conversation.
Without the desire to listen, the impact is almost always the same… people would rather not work with this manager. When you don’t listen, you indirectly say, “I don’t care.” When you don’t care about them, your employees won’t care much about you and your success. That’s scary.
To learn more about the next two Stupid Behaviors, I Want to Be Your Friend and Poor Judgement, check back tomorrow and read the fifth installment in this blog series.
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