One Message – Part 2Posted: October 12, 2013
Words speak louder than actions. Do your actions match your words? It’s easy to send mixed messages without even realizing it. Like many managers, I like to tell my team that I have an open door policy and they can talk to me whenever they need to. Yet, in one of my past roles, few people would come to see me or they would come once the situation had escalated too far.
I had to stop and ask myself why this was happening, so I reached out to my team for feedback. The most common response was that, “I always appeared in a hurry, like I had too much to do”, so my team didn’t want to bother me. While I certainly often had a very full plate, I realized part of that was because I was getting feedback or hearing problems after the fact. I made a conscious effort to slow down and appear relaxed, even if I had a million things on my mind. Staff started to feel more comfortable in approaching me and the work environment was more positive for everyone.
There are many ways we can send mixed messages. Maybe it’s where we spend our time the most, or what how frequently we email on a given subject. I once had a manager tell me that supporting our teams was our top priority, but I never received a single email about supporting our teams. Instead, I received frequent emails about sales numbers. His words didn’t match his actions.
Over the years, I’ve learned to be very conscious of my actions and how they connect to the messages I am trying to promote. Do you have any similar lessons you’ve learned in your work experience?