It’s HOW You Say It...Mar 11, 2021
If I only had a dollar for each time Cindy’s told me, “It’s not what you say, it’s HOW you say it…” Can you relate - with me or with Cindy??? I can sure think of a bunch of times where I’ve felt that same way!
In providing yet another answer to the question we’ve looked at in the last two posts, Why is leadership development important?, let’s take a look at how much effective communication matters… In doing that, we almost have to consider just how little attention this gets as outstanding individual contributors climb through the ranks in their organization - until something crazy happens that shines a spotlight on the issue!
As I think back to all the times Cindy has made that comment to me, I know there were a bunch of instances where I simply brushed her off by saying, “That’s just how I am.” While that is indeed the case, it wasn’t until I learned how to understand and apply The Model of Human Behavior that I knew just how true that really was AND that I should never use it as an excuse for being a jerk!
I do find a little bit of solace in knowing that issue has impacted far more people than me… And I’ve found even more peace in knowing what I can do on a daily basis to at least limit the number of times she needs to remind me to watch my tone!
All jokes aside, this is a significant issue in almost every organization. The way a supervisor, a manager, or anyone with leadership responsibility for that matter, communicates with their team members has a huge impact on the entire atmosphere of that workplace. And all too often, companies just don’t have the internal resources to provide their leaders with the tools they need to avoid the issues that occur as a result.
Believe it or not, this isn’t isolated to me communicating with Cindy or even the scenario you’re picturing right now! Salesforce.com shared a study a few years ago where 86% of the executives surveyed cited lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the primary reason for workplace failure! A similar study by SIS International Research showed the cumulative cost of annual productivity losses due to communication issues alone were more than $26,000 per employee!
Why is leadership development important? This question frequently gets glossed over because very few people ever tie it back to tangible behaviors that directly impact their organization’s bottom line! To compound that issue, leadership development - including the tools and training that help supervisors and managers learn to communicate with their team members more effectively - are nearly always termed as the “soft skills training” that can be done when there’s time…
The SIS International Research study went on to estimate that the $26k/employee in productivity losses would cost the average company with 100 people around $530,000 each year. Even if those were the only costs of poor communication, it would be way too much! But how about the impact it can have on turnover? We’ll dig into those in the next post… But here's a spoiler alert: those costs are crazy high too!