Get Frustrated When My Staff Gives Me
Too Much Information
I turned to the gentleman sitting next to me on the plane and asked him if he preferred to have time by himself or to talk.
"Depends on what we talk about," he said.
"How about communications on your job?"
He discovered I was a communication coach. I discovered he was a president of a power company.
"I get frustrated when my younger executives give me too much information in a meeting. I don't know whether they are trying to impress me or they just aren't good at communicating. All I want is the information I need! I stop listening or I will cut them off. What do I do about that?"
"It's a complicated question for complicated reasons," I answered. "Different people have different experiences with authority. Some young executives who talk to you and give too much information are avoiding being punished. Their experiences in school, family, and business may be 'if you give the wrong answer, you get punished.' A second group are people trying to avoid conflict. They have experienced that 'giving a wrong answer will cause an argument,' which is considered conflict. Conflict is something to be avoided at all costs.
"Both groups are providing you with all the information they know, with the hopes that you can select something that will answer your question without them being punished or drawn into conflict. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Possibly you might ask them to give you only essential information and you'll ask for more if you need it."
He didn't respond to my statement and the conversation ended. Probably I gave him too much information.
©2002 Peter deLisser. All rights reserved.