Everything is a communication… everything.
— Carpenter Smith Consulting
One of the things we see over and over again is that clients assume that what they say is the key to communication, and they don’t think about what their behavior is communicating. Fact: people respond to everything you do as a communication. Your behavior may be significantly influencing how other people see you and judge your success.
We work with a client named Jim, who by all rights is a highly talented analyst. Unfortunately, his talent is greatly overshadowed by the fact that his behaviors communicate more about him than his talent.
Looking at one specific effort, Jim’s work would be assessed as stellar. But for almost every project, people have to chase him down to ask where the report is, or if he has gotten anything done on the project, or if he is going to be at the next critical meeting… etc. As a result, he is experienced as an obstacle to success rather than a key contributor.
When people have to pursue him to get information about work that they are counting on being done, they stop caring about his skill level and only notice how frustrated they feel by his behavioral communication.
One of the hardest things for Jim to understand is that when he says, “I’ll get that done tomorrow” and doesn’t, or “forgets” to share the information in an email, people will “hear” the message in his behavior louder than his words or his work product. By being the guy who has to be asked where things are at, he’s shooting himself in the foot.
A proactive and honest email that says something as simple as, “I was planning to have this today but won’t be able to get it to you until tomorrow; please let me know if there are other people I need to let know about this,” is all it takes to get people to see him as a successful leader of the project.
To be an effective leader, your words and your actions need to communicate the same thing. Only then will people “hear” the value of your effort.
This week spend some time making sure that you’re communicating what you really want to be communicating to the right people about your progress or lack of progress, so that your work isn’t diminished in the eyes of others.
See you next week,
— Your Coaches at Carpenter Smith Consulting
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