Many managers and executives see their role as one where they give orders and make sure they are carried out. This is one key function of a supervisor but a piece that sometimes goes missing is distinguishing between two-way communication and information. We are taught that communication is about getting our point of view across but there is much more. Let’s look at the difference between the two. Take a moment to build your self-awareness by thinking about where you are on the continuum and what skills you can add to your tool box.
- A memo.
- An e-mail.
- Giving orders.
- Explaining or describing processes.
- Telling someone what to do.
- Offering an opinion.
- Pep talks.
- Policies and procedures.
- Collaborative problem solving.
- Two-way interchange.
- Give and take.
- Exchange of ideas.
- Asking for opinions and input.
Some of the clients I coach have talked to me about what a difference it made in their team building efforts when they made the shift from informing their employees to communicating with them. Two-way communication allows us to gather information, ask for input and collaborate with others. Of course there are times we will need to give a directive but, if we use true communication, even an order will take on a different tone.
Take a moment sometime to examine your communication style and the outcomes you experience. We get different results based on our communication approach and we can always fine-tune things so we can function more effectively. Information tends to move us in the direction of spoon feeding people orders while two-way communication tends to build autonomy and collaboration. Each style leads in a direction that can impact your organization.