Barking at the troops. Happens all the time. The boss wants to inspire his people, urge them to battle, lead them to victory. Coax them into making better widgets, sell more work, complete tasks on time and under budget.
She goes from meeting to meeting, giving her ten-minute pep talks. He takes a few softball questions. She tells everybody to send her an email if they have suggestions. He says he really wants to know what they think.
Those on the receiving end of the encounter are shaking their heads. What, they ask themselves? Really, they think? I know this guy who calls himself our leader means well, but what does his talk have to do with us? How am I supposed to respond?
A communications breakdown. Total disconnect. It’s not that the leader didn’t attempt to communicate, or the troops attempt to listen. It’s that the message the leader sent didn’t resonate. Because the content of the message sent meant little in the context of the troops on the ground. The interesting thing is that from the vantage points of both – the leader and the troops – the views of reality are reasonable and supportable. But neither triangle conveys the whole reality, according to Mel Toomey, founder of the Center for Leadership Studies.