According to a survey by Comparably.com, 52.5 percent of respondents said that their boss’s communication skills are the biggest area in need of improvement. In comparison, the next biggest area for improvement on the list was “Accountability” at a meagre 19 percent. Positivity, Work Ethic, and Honestly were all under 12 percent, so communication really stood out as the main skill that most employees think that their bosses lack in.
So Why Do Your Boss’s Communication Skills Suck?
Firstly, it is hard to define a single reason because there are so many!
Awkward silences in meetings, mid-sentence brain freezes, and lots of talking that never gets to a point are all examples of a lack of preparation rather than strictly bad communication. At least there is communication, right?
Being prepared around what one wants to say is a part of making sure that you give a good delivery of your point. Lack of preparation means that you lose the point, or worse still you call everyone in to meeting and realize half an hour in that you never really did have a point in the first place. Everyone has had their time wasted and nobody likes that.
In the same way most of us have a plan before we start writing, we all need to have a plan before we start speaking. Having a plan should not be mistaken for having a ton of slides or talking for a long time. If people are getting bored in meetings that is a sign that the information they are being given is not crucial. When non-crucial information is presented to a captive audience, then resentment builds.
Which leads us on to complacence …
One of the reasons that you might think that your boss has bad communication skills is due to this dynamic. He or she has a captive audience in you and the rest of your team. Because they don’t have to convince you to be there, they can become complacent in the way that they run meetings.
If and when your boss has to talk to their own boss, however, you can bet they will be less complacent. They will prepare, and as a result they will not babble on. If they do, they are bound to be told about it!
According to Alan Weiss, communication expert, most people are really great at telling others what they know. But, they are not so good at telling others what they need to hear. Listening is the skill that needs to be improved most here. If you listen to what people tell you, you can decipher what it is that they actually need to learn from you.
We have interviewed a number of communication experts for our upcoming podcast series on communication (launches in September) and the one thing that every participant has touched on so far is listening. When we listen, we know what our audience wants and needs to hear. When we don’t listen, we default to what we want to say, rather than what needs to be communicated.