Why Your People May Not Be Getting What Seems So Obvious to You

Posted on by in Communication, Leadership, Managing Talent, Relationships

If you’re like most leaders, you probably have a fair amount of frustration concerning your staff. You ask them to do something. You believe you’ve clearly communicated what you want them to do. And yet, for some reason, they don’t get it (or get it done).

Now, while there are plenty of reasons why this happens, one of the main reasons why (and one that you have complete control over) is this, “Because you’re thinking like you and not like them.” This happens all the time. In fact, it’s one of the most common conversations I have with my clients.

You want something done. Let’s say you want them to call on a client, or follow through on a task, or recruit a new employee, or ask for a referral at the point of sale, or put together the spring company picnic. The actual task is somewhat irrelevant. What is relevant is that you want them to do something.

In your mind, that task is very clear. But is it in theirs?

For example, using Myers-Briggs, I have a number of CEO clients who are classic NTs (intuitive thinkers who go by their gut and don’t like lots of detail and direction). However, most of them have senior leaders who aren’t NTs. In fact, a lot of their top teams are made up of SJs (sensing-judgers who don’t go by their gut and who prefer lots of data, details and direction).

You can see where this is headed, can’t you?

The NT leader doesn’t want lots of direction and details–so he doesn’t give them. When he says, “Angela, put together the company picnic,” in his mind, that’s all she needs. Why? Because that’s all he needs. The last thing he wants is a detailed list of what to do, where to get supplies, what communications to send out, who should be involved, where to hold the picnic, what activities to include or not to include, etc.

However, SJs crave that detail. SJs want to do things right. They like to follow policies and procedures. They don’t like to create from scratch. They get stumped and become indecisive when “everything is an option.” And because they have a leader who hasn’t communicated in a way that they get, they don’t get the task done.

Yes, life would be easier if all of our employees would do what we want them to do when we want them to do those activities simply because “we’re the boss and we told them, ‘Do this.’” However, fighting human nature is usually a losing battle. And as Dr. Phil reminds us, “How’s that working for you?”

If you want to produce results through your people and leverage their time, talents, resources and intellectual property (something which all leaders should want to do), then you’ll want to step back from your own personality and preferences and think about the people you’re communicating with–and then communicate in ways that connect with them.

Remember, what seems obvious to you is not always obvious to others–and that may be precisely why your people are not getting what you want them to get.

So try this. Take something that one or more of your employees aren’t “getting” or doing. Then pretend you’re them in their position and with their personality. How are you hearing the task differently now? Using that understanding, how can you better communicate what you’re trying to say in such a way that they’ll hear what you want them to hear?

Do this and you’ll be way ahead of other CEOs and leaders–plus your people will be getting way more done along the way!

To your accelerated success!

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