Employee Insight: 12 Reasons Leaders Communicate Poorly | #leadership

Employee Insight: 12 Reasons Why Leaders Are Poor Communicators

When companies bring me in to help employees adapt to and implement change, what strikes me is how often the employees don’t understand what’s going on. (Repeated studies show that clear communication is a top factor in effecting change.) Not surprisingly, in these tough moments, employee insight on why leaders communicate poorly comes pouring out.

From discussions with these employees, I have compiled the communication checklist for leaders. This has helped many of my clients and now it can help you. I welcome your additions and comments in the comments section below.

Employee Insight: Image is business people w/ talk bubbles.

Employee Insight: Reasons Why Leaders Communicate Poorly

Grateful for image by Ghozt Tramp via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Employee Insight: 12 Reasons Leaders Communicate Poorly

  1. Leaders assume we understand the big picture they have access to. They don’t communicate the background yet expect us to move forward. Employee insight: Don’t assume we know as much as you do.

  2. Leaders get caught up in their own responsibilities. Thus they unintentionally skew the message to what is weighing them down. Employee insight: Write down your worries but communicate the whole picture. Else we hear only your worries.

  3. Leaders are so focused on the end results that they jump over the details right to the finish line. As they jump, they leave us in the dust. Employee insight: Give us more than the destination else we can’t get there.

  4. Leaders skip issues they don’t have answers to. They do this to prevent confusion or to avoid personal embarrassment and vulnerability. Yet, these gaps often cause more confusion in a changing environment. Employee insight: Identify the gaps and let us know that more information will follow.

  5. Leaders’ expertise blinds them to what others don’t know. This syndrome, expert-itis, undermines clear communication. Employee insight: Invite our questions and have the patience to answer them.

  6. Leaders are often impatient. Be it from personality type or pressure of the job, leaders often communicate as infrequently as possible. Employee insight: Clear and succinct is OK; confusion and silence isn’t.

  7. Leaders repeat the communication style of their leaders. As they try to manage their leader, they sometimes take on their leader’s pattern of minimal communication. Employee insight: The further we are from the top, the more information we need from you.

  8. Leaders don’t account for diversity of background, education, and perspective. Teams are diverse generations, cultures, upbringing, and experience. They aren’t leader clones. Employee insight: Check the stories you use, the jargon you choose, and the references you make. Are they universally understood?

  9. Leaders sometimes under or over prepare to communicate. When they under-prepare they don’t foresee gaps and questions. When they over prepare, they can become rigid and scripted. Employee insight: Prepare what you have to say and then open up to a true dialogue. We can help you clarify what we don’t understand.

  10. Some leaders have a fear of public speaking. To them even speaking in a meeting of ten people is scary. The result is poor communication. Employee insight: Focus on how much your communication will help us. We aren’t judging how you speak. We just need the information.

  11. Leaders who communicate far more of the negatives than the positives, communicate poorly. Communication is about truth and vision. Employee insight: When you communicate what’s wrong, we can fix the current trouble. When you communicate what is going well, we learn how to create success.

  12. Leaders underestimate how much communication sustains others. Even leaders who communicate information clearly, sometimes don’t communicate enough appreciation. Morale and engagement suffer. Employee insight: Don’t take us for granted or detach from us. Leadership is about inspiring us!

Leaders, which of these reasons would your employees say make your communication poor?

What reasons would add to this list?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
When is Silence Golden and When Is It Not?
9 Reasons Leaders Don’t Show Appreciation to Employees
18 Things Respected Well-Liked Leaders Consistently Do

©2015 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


Engage in people skills learning!

Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience.

I invite your questions, welcome your wisdom, and look forward to working with you.
~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

6 Responses to “Employee Insight: 12 Reasons Leaders Communicate Poorly | #leadership”

  1. […] Important employee Insight: Reasons why leaders communicate poorly. Must read leadership communication checklist via The People Skills Coach™.  […]

  2. Khalid says:

    Hi Kate,

    I’m so glad to receive your post.

    I totally relate to all of your points but I relate to this point the most as I felt it when management wanted to chance the existing vision and mission statements and asked attendees about existing mission meaning and none replied to how the CE translated it!


  3. Eric Meyer says:

    Kate, this is a great article. I have been through dozens of corporate evolutions over the past 24 years and have personally seen every one of the things you have listed. I have also noticed that in the absence of credible information, people will fill in the gaps with their own fears and speculations that then becomes the fuel for a massive gossip network. This is not only counterproductive, but the longer the misinformation produced by the network exists unmanaged, the more the masses will believe that the misinformation is indeed fact. I recognize that people will gossip, but if they are gossiping about what they think is going on at work, then I need to do a better job of explaining what is important to them.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Honored by your compliment of course Eric and thrilled to have you expand the discussion to include fears and gossip. Great communication can quell both!

      Many thanks,

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest