Date Added: August 2013
Note: This article appeared in the August 9, 2013 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Having open, honest and direct communications is typically the best communication method because it removes misunderstandings. It becomes even more important when the purpose is not self-serving, but for a greater good to benefit others or answers, "What is the good business reason for doing this?"
Unfortunately, several years ago I didn't listen to my advice and it proved costly. My attempt was to practice humility and not openly communicate some items -- even though the intent was for a greater good of the organization. The result validated why direct communication goes hand-in-hand with the greater good intent.
My decision was one many of us have probably made before. In a leadership role, I sought to help the organization and others on an individual basis centered on their personal situations. I felt this was a greater good. These decisions were not shared with other leaders as my thought was to protect each individual’s confidentiality.
Over time, other leaders determined the greater good was for everyone to be handled the same, regardless of their individual situations. In hindsight, both decisions make sense. They discovered my prior decisions and haven't forgiven me.
While they did not ask for an explanation of my decisions or the rationale behind them, my mistake was to not openly communicate these decisions years ago. Their mistake was to judge me without directly speaking with me. We both failed to communicate.
As often happens, poor communication escalates as both parties only communicate via email. The most well-crafted email can still be misperceived if not communicated directly. Another mistake. It took time to realize this until I sought to speak with them directly.
There are lessons learned that apply to everyone. One's best display of humility should be to communicate openly, honestly and directly. While this may cause disagreement, it will avoid misperceptions. Don’t judge others. If there is a problem, address it verbally.
While I wouldn't change my decisions as I believe they were the right thing to do for the individuals and organization, I would definitely change the communication. My hope is others learn from these prior mistakes.
David Yeghiaian is committed to leading people on a life-changing journey to being great leaders. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.