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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Aggressive and Passive Communication is Hurting Your Organization!!!

Been a while since my last! I realize it doesn't help to post with such irregularity so here I am keeping my fingers crossed and promising my self and you that I will post a new article every Tuesday night! that means you should check out my blog every Wednesday!

Read on...

You probably know it but do not think it's serious...

This happened just a couple of days ago. I was conducting a Safety Awareness Training. After discussing some of the safety issues at work that people should look out for, I asked the participants to identify any existing safety issues that they’ve found in their workplace. After 20 minutes I asked them to present their output. They identified a good number of safety concerns, some minor and others very serious and requiring immediate attention. One manager asked “why are you telling us all these just now when you say that these problems have been existing for some time?” The participants gave her a nervous smile and some lame excuses. The real answers to the manager’s question are either they really don’t know how to communicate their concerns or they are afraid that asserting their concerns can earn them the ire of their superiors. Both are valid and genuine concerns.

This is the problem many Filipino organizations face everyday but do not know how to confront, poor communication due to poor communication mindset that stems from the top to the bottom of the organization. Some managers think that it’s enough to tell people to speak up or to say that they have open door policy and that people should come to them for any concern. I have a friend who was managing a production unit for a BPO company who thought that if people are not capable of coming forward or putting their signature on a complaint letter, then there is no reason for him to act. I’ve seen a lot of managers who like him feel that it is unwise to act on problems because they come from rumors or unsigned letters. Sometimes I suspect that some of them use it as an excuse not to act. Managers can also be afraid of rocking the boat you know. If this situation where people resort to rumors and anonymous letters happen in your organization, you too are suffering from the same communication problem as the client I mentioned in the beginning of my article. People who do not know or for whatever reason do not want to communicate with other people in the organization are part of the overall communication problem that could bring the company down. Over 90% of conflicts in the organization can be attributed to this… miscommunication.

Is this serious? Yes it is! Without proper training and culture change, organizations will continue to suffer from having people withhold information, opinion and feelings which are necessary to productivity and growth! Managers will continue to use Aggressiveness as a means to get things done and employees will continue to think that passiveness and submission is the way to avoid the bad side of the boss.

The Key word here is assertiveness. A culture of candor, openness and genuine effort to understand has to replace the aggressive and passive styles of communication that often proliferate in organizations. Managers should learn the techniques in drawing out information that are vital to organizations’ well being while employees must learn to appreciate the value of communication and being assertive in their career and organization’s success. Things like this don’t happen just because the manager said “alright, let’s have a more open communication here.” It requires decision making on the side of the manager, agreeing on a communication norm and making sure that people are getting themselves used to it. People should learn it.

If you feel that your organization needs to be lifted from the communication rut you’re in, please let me know. Optimus Innovation, Inc has a good Assertiveness Skills Development program that helps organizations from top to bottom adjust their communication styles to pave the way for that open and productive communication culture that many companies so desire but do not know how to get. We are holding a public seminar tentatively on January 30 to 31, 2007. If you wish me to save a seat for you, please give me a ring at 09205044521 or e-mail me at Click here to see the outline:
You may also visit Optimus' website at for more information about the training company.

If you wish to have the training done in-house for your company, that's even more cool! call me at the aforementioned number right away!

'Till next post!

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