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Deal with 3 communication slips

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,People Management

Communication slipsEven your best employees have communication habits that get under your skin. Follow this advice on how to respond—and put an end to these annoying communication gaffes:

Leaving out details—or sharing too many. Some employees skimp on the details to avoid taking heat for problems. Other employees unload every bit of information they have. Either way, it wastes your time.

Tell employees exactly how much detail you want. If you want a summary or briefing, say so. If you need top-level details, ask for them. And don’t be afraid to dig for more information or ask people to skip some points mid-conversation.

Asking “What should I do?”—always. Employees are going to need your advice from time to time. However, if you have employees who always want you to fix their problems or make decisions, it’s time to empower them to step up to the plate. Ask “What do you think you should do?” If they don’t come up with something, don’t offer a solution. Instead, ask them to give it some critical thought and get back to you.

Communicating too much—or not enough. Some employees will bombard you with emails or frequent visits; others you barely hear from. It’s up to you to establish how often you want updates and check ins from your staff.

Tell them your preferences and hold them accountable for following your protocol. If employees send six emails a day, for example, ask them to merge all the information and to start sending a daily email. Or ask the employee who’s incommunicado to stop by your office every Tuesday for a quick check in.

— Adapted from “7 Mistakes Workers Make and How to Deal With Them,” Art Petty, The Balance, www.thebalance.com.

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