If you are new to—or even if you have been at it for a long time—you can alienate and anger employees without even realizing it. Avoid these five communication traps even the best managers commit from time to time:
- Labeling. Resist the temptation to label employee behavior as either good or bad. That often produces defensive employees.
- Assuming. When you act without knowing the whole story, you can make bad, ill-informed decisions. Take time to assemble all the facts before acting.
- Overtalking. When you dominate conversations, you fail to learn from others. What’s worse, your comments may fall on deaf ears. Make sure that you’re allowing others to talk as much—if not more—than you do. More important: Really listen to what they are saying.
- Sugarcoating. Ignoring negatives and dwelling on positives might make for a rosy work environment. But too much kindness can undermine trust. Deliver bad news or critical comments immediately whenever necessary.
- Dictating. Managers who fail to consult with others risk turning into tyrants. The solution: Gather input from people who will be affected by your decision so that they can offer feedback and ultimately buy into your proposals.
— Adapted from Winning Management, Wolf J. Rinke, www.wolfrinke.com.