Poor communication causes low morale

A January 2014 article in the Society for HR Management found that the greatest source of low workplace morale is poor communication. Just over a third of the respondents felt this way. The next biggest cause of low workplace morale was micromanagement. The good news is that effective communication skills can be learned. More often than not managers don’t take time to listen to employees  either because they are busy or because they are afraid that listening might be that they have to agree with what their employees have said.

Great communication takes time and requires focus. Don’t have time to listen? Tell your employee or manager and find a better time to connect. When you are listening be sure you put all the focus on the other person to ensure they felt heard.

The importance of active listening

I was reading an HBR blog today and it reminded me of one of the most critical management skills, the art and science of active listening.  Christine  Riordan notes:  “Study after study has shown that listening is critical to leadership effectiveness. So, why are so few leaders good at it?

Too often, leaders seek to take command, direct conversations, talk too much, or worry about what they will say next in defense or rebuttal. Additionally, leaders can react quickly, get distracted during a conversation, or fail to make the time to listen to others. Finally, leaders can be ineffective at listening if they are competitive, if they multitask such as reading emails or text messages, or if they let their egos get in the way of listening to what others have to say.”

Another important point about active listening is that just because you hear what your employees or colleagues say, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them.

Taking in what others say, sorting it out in your own mind and saying it back, focused on the other person, develops relationships, validates the other person and helps them sort out their own thoughts.


Who are you betting on for the Super Bowl and could it get you in trouble at work?

Who are you betting on for the Super Bowl and could it get you in trouble at work?

According the the employment law firm Jackson Lewis, gambling is generally illegal at work Before deciding whether to sponsor or permit office pools, employers should examine their state law. “Gambling generally is illegal, but some states make an exception for “social gambling.” While the definition of social gambling varies, it usually occurs in a strictly social context, where the persons involved know each other beforehand and no profit is made. (The NFL’s copyright of the Super Bowl game prohibits third parties from charging admission to view the contest.) In most states, betting among friends and colleagues would fall within the social-gambling exception. While office pools may be permitted under these circumstances under some state laws, there may be limits on how much prize money can be awarded. Gift certificates to restaurants and gym memberships may be safer prizes if the employer is condoning the exchange of money in the workplace. Further, if there is a pool in the workplace, employers should ensure everyone understands that participation is completely voluntary, and that no negative action will be taken if an employee chooses not to participate.”

Be careful of making employees feel that they have to participant in something that might not be of interest!

Email Overload

How many emails do you get in a day? A radical idea posted in January 20th’s New York Times, suggested hitting “delete all” when returning from vacation. I’m not sure that’s the right solution but today, picking up the phone, thinking before sending can reduce the number of emails you get.