Here is a simple but powerful leadership lesson that many people are forgetting right now, and need to remember:
Just because you sent the message does not mean that the other person received it, let alone understood it.
Whether it is in a memo, e-mail, text, tweet, or during a face to face conversation, just because you said it or wrote it does not mean another person heard it, understood it or will change their behavior because of it.
Recently, during executive coaching sessions, I am hearing over and over the following: “ Well, I sent it to them and they did nothing.” Or “I keep telling them it is important and they didn’t do anything with this information.” My response is always the same: just because you sent the message, does not mean they got it, let alone understood it.
The problem is that we live now in a world where “To Do” lists are more important than goals, and e-mail is more important than relationships. Everyone is racing to “get’er done.” This is not a sustainable way to work or to live. No wonder people in leadership positions are burned out and are thinking of quitting,
Instead, we need to send effective messages and then ask open ended questions of those listening to make sure they understand the concept, not just are aware of it. Next, we need to make sure that the person knows how to implement or utilize the information. While this may take more time in the beginning, it will result in better outcomes for all involved.
So, start this week by regularly checking to make sure your messages are received and understood rather than just sent. It will make a world of difference in your effectiveness as a leader.