Kaur Thoughts

Do you have what it takes to be a Manager Whisperer?

Posted 13th May 2011

What do the dog whisperer, the horse whisperer and the ghost whisperer all have in common?

They all communicate in a language that is understood by the recipient they are communicating to.  (Ok so the last one is a TV drama, but the concept is the same).

What is the biggest problem in any organisation?

COMMUNICATION!

Can you see where I am going with this?

I am seriously thinking there is a market for a Manager Whisperer. No matter how people behave, as soon as they are in management there seems to be a communication problem between them and those they manage and vice a versa.

Everyone blames everything that is going wrong on communication (when they are not blaming the managers). Communication takes many forms, but as a Manager Whisperer you will need to understand how to listen.

Here are three critical skills you need to master if you want to be a successful Manager Whisperer.

  1. Empty mind listening – I know it sounds obvious, but listening to what is being said and ignoring the inner chatter in your head as you digest what is being communicated is quite a skill to master. Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening is a skill to receive what is being communicated without judgement, assumptions or analysis where as hearing is a function. So often we start to mentally think about what is being heard before we have finished hearing and therefore potentially miss vital elements of the communication.
  2. Effective verbal listening – Understand the tones, tempo and emphasis on the words. Often people leave half sentences hanging in the air as they assume that the tone they used has conveyed what they want to. It is equally important to listen to the tempo and what word(s) is/are being emphasised in a statement, as it can change the meaning of the sentence totally. For example look at the following sentences where the emphasis is on the word in bold italics.

      I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

    I did not say I wanted a report

  3. Effective non-verbal listening – Understand the expressions, body language, eyes. This is a big giveaway as to what the speaker understands and what they expect from you. Are they thinking as they speak? Are they dismissing the communication as an instruction from above? Are they aligned with the verbal communication? Experts always quote that non-verbal communication has the biggest impact on what you understand, whether consciously or subconsciously.

The easiest way to check how well you are mastering these 3 skills, is to give feedback on what you think you have understood by ensuring you are using the same vocabulary in the same context.

Communication is a two way process and any language is open to misinterpretation and ambiguity, never mind the gross misuse and misunderstanding of words and their meanings.

If you are not thinking of becoming a Manager Whisperer, but merely want to improve communications, the key is to develop a better rapport by practising the same skills as a “would be” Manager Whisperer. Communication is better understood the more you understand the individual. A big picture thinker often switches off if you spend too long in the detail before getting to the important message, likewise a detailed person may not understand what is required if you are talking in half sentences and half questions or vague details.

If you recognise your own speaking and listening style and that also of the person you are communicating with, then you have what it takes to be a Manager Whisperer.