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What do your staff think of your communication skills?

by Jennifer McCoy

Does this story sound familiar to you?

The senior manager of a country health care organization thrust a staff feedback report into my hands, laughing but clearly frustrated, proclaiming: "What else can I do? I can't communicate any more than I do! I can't possibly attend any more meetings!"

She explained her dilemma. The report was a summary sheet of the improvements staff wanted after their professional development workshop. High on the list from every working sub-group was a demand for more communication. Sometimes in capital letters! Demanding communication: through technology, written word, consultation and her physical presence at every meeting.

She described her communication strategies; she talked about her attempts to maintain 'open communication' across the organization; she spoke about how she organized her day, arriving early and leaving late, so that she could accommodate interactions with staff during the day. And her plan sounded reasonable. So what has gone wrong?

The scenario is common. Of course there will be room for fine-tuning, some demands are 'blue-sky' dreaming, others will be perfectly achievable. But no matter her degree of determination, similar outcomes will probably occur next time as new staff join the organisation and different challenges arise.

However, it's worth thinking about how we communicate, about how other people perceive our communication.

Just how influential are you? Do you know what your staff really think of your communication skills?

And it's worth asking: Are we really as effective as we think we are? Do we know what we are doing well? Do we know precisely what we are not doing well? And do we know what we should be doing to improve?

The Behavior Minder™ is a very effective online assessment instrument we use for helping people to identify precisely, the effectiveness of their communication with others.

Designed by Dr. I. Rubin PhD, an organizational psychologist and academic from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is used internationally in senior management training and coaching programs.

The instrument assesses forty eight communication behaviours(┬ęTemenos), and draws on feedback from yourself, colleagues and and/or reporting staff.

Each person is asked to identify those behaviours they would like more or less of, and to prioritise five behaviours they regard as especially important in improving communication with you.

You can then choose which communication behaviours you want to work on; starting with the common prioritised ones perhaps.

For further information read

If you'd like to improve your communication with staff, increase your influence at work, ring Jennifer on 0425 726 340.

Read/Browse:Rubin, I. The ABCs of effective communication. Temenos.