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Michelle Malay Carter

Hi Steve,

Don't forget Leadership. I find that usually communication and leadership are the top two presenting issues. All paths lead to them.

Years ago, I wrote an article called the Answer is Communication and Leadership, But What is the Question?

You can check it out here: http://www.peoplefit.com/Learning-Library/The-Answer-is-Communication-and-Leadership-But-What-is-the-Question.html


Michelle Malay Carter

Steve Roesler

Hi, Michelle,

No argument from this quarter. Will have a look at your article and add it as a reference.

There was a time (gosh, I sound like my father) when Leadership wasn't the commonplace factor that it is today. Even Leadership was lumped in with communication but now, as you state, it's right up there in the top two.

Thanks for reminding me we're in the 21st century:-)

Mile High Pixie

Oooh! A coworker and I were just talking about the importance of communication, that catch-all phrase, today. A manager at our office was frustrated because one of her interns didn't seem like he cared much when she pointed out mistakes he'd made, even big ones. He'd just sorta shrug and say "oh well..." When he began having problems with the contractor on a construction project due to his own failures in his work (a number of which she likely tried to point out), she just let him flail around and have to send back responses three or four times to the contractor. She told me she "wanted him to learn from his mistakes," but I'm of the belief that most often, when we try to "teach someone a lesson," the lesson they learn is nowhere close to the one that we're trying to teach them. The intern only seemed to learn that his manager was an unsupportive jerk.

The lack of "communication" is a a two-way street here. My manager needed to be clear--continuously and possibly almost bluntly clear--with the intern about what the problem was, how the problem he sloughed off earlier was affecting him now, and what to do about it. The intern needed to find some words that allowed him to retain his easy-going mannerisms while also letting her know that he heard her and would make the changes needed to improve. This intern was one of the first laid off this year when things got tight: it was easy to shuck off his dead weight in her eyes.

Steve Roesler


Ah, this story contains the adventures of Mismanagement 101 + poor employee skills all cloaked in the guise of communication.

I can't stick up for the intern. If your boss is pointing out mistakes, its just plain stupid not to pay attention.

As for the boss: It's one thing to point out mistakes; it's another to show someone exactly how to do something correctly.

When someone is new to a task, pointing out mistakes and then leaving the person alone to "learn from them" is deadly and a form of "gotcha." This is an aspect of management that separates the good from the bad. New people need to be shown exactly what *is* expected, not just told that they got it wrong. I don't care how many years of college the intern had--nothing happens in the real world the way that it does in the classroom.

Perhaps the manager did point out the proper way to do things. I can't tell from here.

One thing seems certain: The customer didn't have a totally satisfying experience, and that's what counts.

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