Want to be hired? Want to sway a jury? Want more productive employees? Want to win at work? Want to win in life? Then, it's simple: stop being such a jerk! It turns out a new study from Harvard Business Review says that insensitive and abrasive communication is what drags down executives and prevents effective leadership.
HBR polled 1,000 U.S. employees and found that a great many reported their bosses lacked some basic communication skills, which decreased their effectiveness on the job:
Not recognizing employee achievements: 63%
Not giving clear directions: 57%
Not having time to meet with employees: 52%
Refusing to talk to subordinates: 51%
Taking credit for others’ ideas: 47%
Not offering constructive criticism: 39%
Not knowing employees’ names: 36%
Refusing to talk to people on the phone/in person: 34%
Not asking about employees’ lives outside of work: 23%
Really? It takes a survey to figure out that insensitive and abrasive communication is what holds people back? I've been preaching this for years! I've written about how to recognize others' contributions at work. I've written about delivering feedback. I've written about the importance of names. And on and on. I’m a communications expert because the most important aspect of success in business and in personal life is positive, effective communication with others. It is particularly striking that more than half the bosses were perceived to be guilty of the first four communication failures. Many managers out there still need to hear my message.
I'm not convinced people don't already know what they should do. However, I believe that many people just feel they don't have "time for it." In fact, I recently read a New York Times article that makes a similiar point. And the situation seems to have been getting worse over the past couple decades. Why? Work stress has increased. Stress makes people feel rushed. Because they feel rushed, they are less civil, which decreases the productivity of employees, which further increases stress, and so on. Several studies referenced in the article indicate that simple rudeness can not only make people sick, it can dramatically decrease their ability to think and perform. The bottom line is this: kust like eating healthy and exercising, yes, civility takes time and effort, but the results are worth it in the long run. By paying attention and practicing basic social skills, it turns out we end up multiplying our time and our results.
This is Lisa B. Marshall, helping you to lead and influence. If you'd like to learn more about compelling communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk. As always, your success is my business.
Power of employee image courtesy of Shutterstock.