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3 Common Communication Pitfalls

Updated: Dec 14, 2018

In my time in leadership in a big Fortune 50 company, I spent a lot of time practicing conflict resolution. Mainly, I was helping other people resolve their conflicts. I saw anger, distrust and pettiness prevent people from moving forward and getting things done.

Some people may call me a Polly Anna. But, I truly believe most of the people I work with have good intentions. They are not trying to hurt, belittle or take advantage of someone else.

As I look back on the conflicts I have been involved with, there is one common denominator in them all–poor communication.

Infrequent Communication:

“Talk to each other!” I yelled that at my daughter’s 5th grade basketball team until my throat was raw. Most of us heard a coach scream the same thing when we were active in sports. So why do we believe it should be different at work or at home?

When a team does not hear from the boss or from their peers, human nature kicks in. In the absence of information, we fill in the blanks ourselves. But, we rarely fill those blanks with something positive.

When I hear nothing, I tend to ascribe negative motives to others. I envision the worst outcomes possible. The result is I begin to distrust my leaders and my peers.

When in doubt, I over-communicate. No team ever failed because of too much communication. It is almost always the opposite. I try to over-communicate with my boss, my team and my wife. In all three situations, this has limited the number and the intensity of the conflicts we have.</