Communication is interesting and we can easily be blind-sided by a happening which, more often than not, will cause us to lose focus on our primary goal. There is an old saying that goes ‘You should keep the main thing the main thing!’ Social Media is always a great measure to see if we are focused on our original intention or if we have gone completely off course.
Here is a real life example: At a South African University a week or two ago, a member of its management made a remark that upset many of the students. The sentiments were widely publicised on Social Media and it was clear something had to be done – at the very least an apology from this management team was required. BUT NO! Enter our own worst enemy, yes, our own egos who lie to us and say ‘No, don’t give up your power so easily!’. What we need to realise is that our EGO will justify anything we do, it is fuelled by fear and driven by pride.
Not giving up our so-called ‘power’ is the lie our EGO would like us to believe. In this situation not giving up power is actually handing the power to the students. The delay tactics only allow our opponents to regroup and strategize even more, thus in the case of the students, gaining more sympathy and support for their cause. Our EGO fools us into believing we have victory, fills us with pride, and then causes our downfall when we can least afford it. Ultimately we are forced to apologise and hand the victory to our opponents. Do we not have friends or advisors that could see this coming, or do people actually gloat when this happens? Does the management of the university, in this case, not have any leadership?
The question that must be asked is: What then is the job of the leader, and are we focused on the problem or the people?
The leader should pro-actively be communicating about this situation before it becomes a problem. But unfortunately that is not the only answer! Why is that not the answer you may ask? That is one of the answers, yes. However, is every single member of the university in this case involved? No, it could be argued that about one percent of the students were actively involved and no more than five percent of the total student body were ever involved …
The leader should not ignore the problem as discussed above, but also should not stop communicating to the ninety-five percent who have not noticed the situation, and have no idea there is a problem. By not communicating, the people will start looking for information and will probably come across the problem, thus further advancing the cause of the opponent.
Every situation has different dynamics, however the human behaviour of the above illustration can easily be understood if applied to our everyday relationships. Try ignoring your partner and see how they react. Try to be right and justify the things you do, your partner will soon react and you may just start a fight. Oh, and if you think you can get away with what you do, well you may just be abusing your partner – the lesson here for all of us is never think you are right, get your communication right.
For communication to be effective we must be sure that communication actually took place. Did we get feedback (questions, commentary, negative, positive or anything)? Without some sort of feedback, you can be sure nothing was communicated, never fool yourself into thinking it happened. Your task, as a communicator, a leader, or whoever you perceive yourself to be, is to ensure effective communication takes place.