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

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?


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.

Do you dare to change?

Every now and again someone will ask an innocent question that has a profound impact on our view of life. Sometimes the impact is short lived as we return to the daily grind of activities filling our lives, but occasionally the question stays in our head and niggles away quietly in the background causing mild unrest. We almost do not want to answer the question as it will reveal an aspiration too hard to achieve, or perhaps make us face a situation we have successfully ignored up until now, or maybe because it will remind us of what we really wanted and who we really are and have since forgotten as we have adapted ourselves to fit in society and our work environment.

I was asked the following innocent question about four years ago:

“If you had achieved all you wanted to in life with no regrets and you were reflecting back on your life, what would be the highlights and the things you would be most proud of in your life?”

In answering this question I revisited my aspirations and my own personal goals, thus reminding myself of what I wanted to achieve. I realised I was putting off my own dreams using the lack of time as my biggest excuse.

There was always a reason not to start progressing towards my own personal goals; it was always “I will do something when I get around to it”. First I was studying, then I was working, now I am raising a family, tomorrow there will something else. Life goes on, but at some point life will pass me by and then it will be too late for me to do anything. If I make no effort to progress towards my own personal goals now, then I will be reminiscing on “what ifs” and regrets. What a waste!

Don’t underestimate me. When thinking about this question I had it all: a job I loved, a career with good prospects and a lovely family and yet there was something that was not quite right. I thought I was doing an excellent job of juggling all the things in my life. Yet all I was doing was juggling more and more, faster and faster, rushing from A to B, B to C, nearly always on auto pilot. I enjoyed my work, I love my family, my husband and kids are great, so what was niggling away in the background?

This one question resulted in me re-evaluating my priorities. Somewhere along my journey I had put my dreams to one side as I got on with “life”. But not anymore! Having thought long and hard on what was important to me and what did I really want to achieve, I made the necessary changes in my life. These changes were not easy or quick decisions, nor would the benefits be realised immediately. However, having now made these changes, I am happy to say I consider my life to be richer in fulfilment.

We always have options. It is often too easy to go with the flow. Sometimes we go with the flow without even realising it. But once we realise something is not quite right, are we brave enough to challenge the status quo of our life and dare to change?

So let me now ask you an innocent question:

“If you were the person you really wanted to be, what would be different about your life?”

Do you dare to change?