Do You Use ‘Mushroom Communication’ With Your Team?
If you’re like me, communication is something that you struggle with. For me, that’s really funny because I am a public speaker, educator and blogger. So you would think it wouldn’t be a problem. It is.
In Please…Say Something! I discuss a meeting I had 10 years ago with one of my sales team, who shared with me how I wasn’t communicating very well. I assumed my team knew what was in my head. How could they possibly know what I wasn’t sharing with them? As I discovered what I was doing wrong, I went to work on over-sharing as much as I could with the team.
Over-sharing, however, tends to be an issue for a lot of leaders. Some, for the same reason as me, but others because they think it’s unnecessary. Many believe their team members should be on a need-to-know basis—only giving them information as the leader(s) sees fit. I agree that your team should be on a need-to-know basis…because they NEED TO KNOW!
We call not over-sharing Mushroom Communication—leaving your people in the dark and feeding them manure. It is a terrible way to lead your team. It leaves them feeling uninformed, undervalued, left out, unable to successfully do their job, and worried that something’s going on that might affect them and they don’t know about it. Lack of communication is a top reason why people leave a company to go somewhere they feel they can be champions.
So how can you change? Well, it starts by understanding there’s an issue. Here are a few steps to turn it around:
- Discuss it – Talk with your long-term team members and ask them what they think of your communication. Tell them to be brutally honest because you are trying to improve your leadership and make their lives easier. Ask what steps you can take to make it better.
- Write it – Put in writing what it is you want to communicate with your team members. This will help you visualize what you’re telling them and see the areas that need more information. Look it over and ask yourself if you would be able to do their job with the amount of information you’ve provided.
- Question it – In every meeting you have, always ask: Does that make sense? Do you have any questions? Is there anything else you need to be successful on this?
As you do these steps, it will give your team the feeling that you really do want them to succeed. It will also allow them the opportunity to speak up and get all the information necessary.
Great communication takes time to get right. It’s been a decade since I first started, and I’m still working on being a great communicator. Do I mess up? Of course I do. But I’m way better than I was 10 years ago.
Question: What techniques have you used to make you a better communicator?
- Please…Say Something! (ChrisLoCurto.com)