Communicating in the Workplace
There are two primary problems for employers and supervisors who are poor communicators:
1) they lose good employees, and
2) they cause lawsuits.
Unfortunately, being an effective communicator does not come naturally for most people. Fortunately, communicating effectively is a skill that can be learned. Here are some tips to assist in that effort:
· Tell the truth, especially in your documentation. Sugarcoating the truth on a performance evaluation and then firing the person for poor performance has led to lawsuits.
· Be clear and direct yet tactful and respectful. Failure to do so causes people to leave. As the saying goes, people don’t quit companies, they quit their supervisors.
· Avoid unpleasant surprises by speaking up. One of my favorite sayings is “silence equals permission.” If an employee does something wrong, say something. Not saying anything until you’re ready to fire someone causes unpleasant surprises and inspires revenge from the ousted employee.
· Think before you “send.” Be aware that your emails could end up as trial exhibits.
· Always remember that you are the boss and that your communication can and will be used against you.
Composer John Powell said, “Communication works for those who work at it.” Because communicating effectively requires time and energy, it's work. Is it worth the effort? It is if you want to keep good employees and avoid lawsuits.