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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, October 01, 2017 1:00 am

Communication linked to job satisfaction

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Communication. Call it the big gap.

It seems so easy, so natural, and yet it's not happening – at least effectively – in the workplace.

That's the finding of research that Fierce Conversations released last month in partnership with Quantum Workplace. The survey of more than 1,300 individuals focused on perceptions, miscommunication and how workplace conversations are linked to employee engagement.

Only half of work-related conversations are high quality: Half of employees rated work-related conversations with their co-workers as either great or excellent, and a similar percentage was found for perceived conversation quality with immediate managers, according to their report, titled “The State of Miscommunication.” Most of the individuals who rated conversations as high quality did so for both their co-workers and with their immediate managers, suggesting that they have the skill set to ensure they have high-quality conversations no matter who the audience.

Fierce Conversations is a training company and Quantum Workplace bills itself as an employee engagement software company that provides surveys and other services.

Their report on “Miscommunication” said nearly half of employees don't regularly speak their minds. The feedback from those surveyed indicated 47.5 percent said they always or almost always speak their minds at work, and 52 percent indicated the same about conversations with immediate managers.

“When an employee doesn't feel comfortable bringing up issues,” the report said, “it could not only impact their job satisfaction, but also leave new ideas on the table, or let bad ideas move farther along than they ever should.”

More than 80 percent of employees indicated miscommunication occurred in their organization very frequently, frequently, or occasionally, yet only half admitted that they were directly involved in miscommunication as often, the report said. These results show accountability is critical but often overlooked in an organization.

Survey respondents were asked which group of employees they thought were most responsible for reducing miscommunication in an organization. More than half (52.7 percent) thought all employee groups were responsible, followed by supervisors and managers, who 32.5 percent of respondents thought were most responsible.

Communication is such a crucial issue, I'll share a bit more from the report next week, including the role of technology.

Check the ego

Cy Wakeman's, CEO and founder of Reality-Based Leadership, suggests some leadership and human resources philosophies focusing on employee engagement could have unintended consequences.

Wakeman wrote a book released Sept. 19 titled “No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results.”

She's a New York Times best-selling author and considered one of the Top 100 leadership experts to follow on Twitter.

The idea of “perfecting the environment” to create employee engagement does the opposite of what it sets out to achieve, according to Wakeman. Instead, it feeds employee ego and generates huge amounts of drama and “emotional waste in the workplace,” a news release for Wakeman's book said.

Wakeman advocates that the leader's role is no longer to motivate, inspire or improve morale. Instead, leaders should “facilitate the use of better mental processes.” That includes clarifying roles, giving clear and direct feedback, instilling accountability, and helping others focus their efforts on their contributions – not on the drama.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at