In one of our Presentation Skills Training Seminars, I tell a story about the time I heard a CEO say to his employees, “it is vitally important that all people in my company feel they can talk to anyone. We have an open door policy. Heck even the janitor can come up and tell me his thoughts. If he thinks I am doing something wrong, I want him to tell me. Of course, since I travel all over the world, if he tells me something I will challenge him with, ‘how do you know that? and if I disagree, I will let him know I travel all over the world and it isn’t that way.’ So he better be ready to defend it.”
Wow, think of all the implications in that message. Would you, as an employee, come forward with new ideas?
No. He actually instills FEAR in others and stops new ideas and then wonders why new ideas aren’t pouring forth. He even told me he had told all the employees that if anyone could present their idea and tell him why it was a good idea he would fund the idea. Sounds good, right?
Well as an employee, you will learn in our Presentation Skills Seminars that what you listen for is the consequences of what will happen if you are wrong. Remember the brain runs from uncertainty and anything it sees a threat.
So which is better? To remain silent and do my job according to the parameters given or stick my neck out and possibly be told “how do you know that? I travel all over the world and it isn’t that way”?
Employees listen to your “hidden” messages more than the just the words you speak. So make sure what you say, what you do, and what they hear matches. Not sure if it does? Ask a trusted colleague or come to our Outcome Focus Approach to Managing Your Message to gain insights on how your brain can sabotage your tongue.
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