The real reason good communication is so hard to come by

ManagementPeople are busy, so I’ll try to make this point quickly and clearly: Good communication is a two-way street.

Sometimes it is a three-way street, and sometimes four  … or even ten.

But at a minimum, it’s just like the tango. It takes two.

At its most basic, a message goes out and it must be received and understood by the other person for it to be an effective communication.

And in that brief simple two-step … everything that can go wrong will try to go wrong.

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When we do surveys to learn what are the greatest challenges business people face, can you guess what comes in at the top of that list almost every time?

Better Communication

If you said better communication, then you no doubt have participated in a few of these surveys yourself!

Business people at all levels say over and over that communicating effectively is one of the biggest issues they face every day.

And here’s the curious part.

When you try to drill down to exactly what it is they mean, or when you ask, “What is good communication?” and “What does that mean, exactly?” all of sudden the answers are NOT so clear any more.

They say things like,

  • My employees don’t communicate.
  • My boss doesn’t communicate.
  • My manager never tells me anything.
  • My co-workers don’t know what they are talking about.

And there is always a lot of frustration associated with these kinds of statements, as well.

Frustration mounts

So, it seems poor communication is everywhere. And it is wearing people down.

The other thing we learn from these surveys is that poor communication almost always is someone else’s fault.

People say “They don’t communicate” and “They need to communicate better.”

They, of course, meaning others.

Good communication has confounded conscientious communicators for so long it has its own Murphy’s Law that goes something like this:

First: If communication can fail, it will.

Second: If a message can be understood in different ways, it will be understood in just the way that does the most harm.

Third: There is always somebody who knows better than you what you mean.

And finally, that brings us to why good communication is so hard to come by.

The more you try to communicate, the greater the possibilities for misunderstandings.

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  1. Ron Weaver says:

    Excellent points. However, I did not see a solution.

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