What We’ve Got Here Is Failure to Communicate

Failure to Communicate

A leader must develop the skills of quality communication.

The first movie I ever saw was My Fair Lady.  I was so taken and thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.  At intermission I purchased a Coke and popcorn.  A few years later I saw Cool Hand Luke.  Now that was a man’s kind of a movie I thought.

One of my favorite lines in the film was “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”. I immediately disliked the prison warden who said it over and over to Luke, the hero of the story.

Over the years I have had an executive coach.  I remember him challenging me to consider averting failure in my communications.  A leader must develop the skills of communication both written and verbal. Every day management communicates up to the C-Suite, externally to clients and prospects, across divisions with their peers, and within their own team. Effective team communication can impact the success or failure of an organization. Purposeful training and coaching with leaders improve communication among managers and their teams.

Consider these examples of poor communication frequently found in struggling teams.

  1. Lack of Individual Feedback – Especially in younger generations, consistent personal feedback is highly valued. Waiting for quarterly or annual reviews to check in on an employee’s progress can cause a disconnect. Frequent communication leads to better on the job performance and a more engaged employee. This constant interaction helps cut off problems before they progress and encourages positive behavior.
  2. Implied Expectations – Some managers fall into a habit of expecting their team members to read their minds. Expectations and outcomes should be clearly outlined to allow employees to operate at their highest potential. By taking the time to outline goals and expectations a manager also allows employees to ask clarifying questions and get everyone on the same page.
  3. Conflict Avoidance – A team, by definition, consists of multiple members, each with their own thoughts and personalities. Like providing upward feedback, teammates should be able to provide each other with dissenting opinions. By exploring new ideas and evaluating alternative approaches, teams become stronger and produce better results.
  4. Lack of Upward Feedback – Occasionally employees find it difficult to express their thoughts to management. As the frontline, employees have valuable perspectives and input to provide. If there is a lack of trust between managers and employees, the employee may not feel comfortable enough to provide much needed input.
  5. Meeting Fatigue – In a case of overcommunication, organizations are finding their employees time misspent with countless hours in meetings. Meetings are important in aligning a team but be sure they are run with an agenda and clear goals. Participants should walk away from a meeting with a clear understanding of what their role is and what the next steps are. If meetings are run without clear intention, they become a burden instead of a benefit.

A team with strong communication skills is proven to be more efficient and drive significantly better returns than teams that are confused and unable to coordinate properly.

Career Development Partners and others like them utilizes a variety of assessments to get to the heart of a team’s communication issues. Once the problem is diagnosed, expert coaches craft a customized solution to eliminate the weakness and get the team on the right track. With improved communication comes stronger returns, a more engaged workforce, and a more achievement-oriented workplace.

As an equity partner with Career Partner International which was founded in 1987 we are one of over 200 locations across the globe that provide executive coaching and talent management services.

Take Action

If you are seeking better communication needs within your organization, we will be glad to connect you to one of our global partners to help you take this damaging statement (“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”) out of your company conversations.

Visit our Leadership and Talent Development Page for a list of offered coaching services.

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Travis Jones

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a well-known community servant and is dedicated to providing world-class service for everyone we encounter at Career Development Partners.

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