Captain Obvious: Good Bosses Talk with People

by Lynette Silva

Coworkers talking togetherRecognize This! – Not recognizing employee achievements is the top communication issue preventing effective leadership.

Confession time. I like commercials. Well, I like good, engaging, funny or emotional commercials. I cry every time I see that Folgers commercial with the soldier coming home for Christmas. And I actually replay the new UnitedHealthcare commercial of the couple trying to recreate the “lift” dance scene from the movie classic Dirty Dancing. But the commercials that make me laugh the loudest are the Captain Obvious commercials like this one (email subscribers, click through for video):

Why does Captain Obvious appeal to me so much? Because sometimes, we need to be slapped in the face with the obvious to make us realize what’s really important.

So, in the spirit of Captain Obvious, I share this report from Harvard Business Review, including this overall finding:

“91% of employees say communication issues can drag executives down, according to results from our new Interact/Harris Poll, which was conducted online with roughly 1,000 U.S. workers.”

It’s no surprise managers need to talk to their employees. But look at how the needs break down:

HBR Employee Needs for Communications

If you read between the lines, you can easily see what employees are asking:

  • Do you see the work I do? Does it matter?
  • Am I doing the work right? If not, I blame you for not giving me the time or information I need to do good work.
  • Do you even care about me as a human – who I am and what makes me tick?

These aren’t just important workplace needs. These are needs fundamental human needs. I matter. What I do matters. I am seen. I am heard. I am valued.

Managers who can meet these needs as well as inspire their employees to do the same for their peers and colleagues find themselves with highly engaged, highly productive, highly motivated teams. Those of us who get to work for managers like that are, in turn, highly blessed.

Think about the best manager you ever had. What made them so good?

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