Miscommunication or Poor Communication is a term thrown around like a “get out jail card” by those who choose to ignore emails, miss meetings and listen half-heartedly. In recent years it’s something I’ve begun to challenge.
Miscommunication occurs when two or more people are in a dialogue. Someone misinterprets what was said. We speak in terms of our intention and others hear with spoken words and visual clues. This is a normal part of life and as long as a dialogue is in progress the necessary understanding will be reached. There are hundreds of books that help with miscommunication.
However, when there is no dialogue it is impossible for miscommunication to occur. Someone is ignoring you. Emails go unread, no attendance in meetings and half hearted attempts to listen cannot be cloaked under the Miscommunication. One party has a made a conscious decision to check out. We, as leaders, need to recognize this and confront it. To give the other person the benefit of the doubt, there may be lots of reasons why they were ignoring you: conflicting priorities, life circumstances or just fell behind on emails/work. So hearing the other party out is important.
Yet our response needs to be immediate and we need to pursue the dialogue. Slow down for the other person and be persistent until you have what you need. Too many times I’ve moved on without resolution to have it explode later. Either I continued on with the project without their input or someone else in that departments input or found someone else to do the task needed with subpar results. Regardless, both are passive aggressive moves.
How do you deal with being ignored?