In a recent blog post, I called on communications professionals to foster a culture that embraces two-way conversations, instead of two-way resentment. I’m not just slinging the ol’ motherhood-and-apple-pie hash. Resentment, left unchecked, can profoundly corrode internal relationships, hurt business performance, drive key talent away and repel important new talent from joining. (Glassdoor, anyone?)

This is on my mind because I recently had a conversation with a contact who described a manager. It seems this manager spoke about his team in very, well, uncomfortable terms and blamed his employees for missed targets.

Given the holiday season, you might say the manager’s behavior was positively Scrooge-like.

Then I got me thinking. What if you and I could take a page from Charles Dickens’s The Christmas Carol?

Let’s say, like the Ghosts of Christmas and Scrooge, we take this manager by the hand, and observe, unseen, his team meetings. What do you think we would we see?

We’d see that he and his staff were locked in a relationship of mutual resentment and were co-creating a miserable work environment. We’d see how the misery paved the path to poor performance, which added to the resentment, which resulted in the missed targets. Ahhh! The dreaded downward spiral, which ends you-know-where and which the Ghost of Christmas Future pointed to with special poignancy.

But it doesn’t have to end there! Because you and I know that something can be done about it. As communication professionals, we have the experience and know-how to develop content strategies and supporting tactics that promote shared values and lead to quality communication practices. These practices can engage people at every level of the organization and empower people to develop relationships of mutual respect and trust.

That’s right. We can help our managers wake up to a new day and change their behaviors before it is too late–just like Scrooge did.

Okay, maybe this comparison to a classic holiday story sounds a little silly. Still, I hope it helps you think about the value we bring when we are active inside our organizations, making the case for quality communication practices. Let’s commit to developing the right strategies and tactics, actively contributing our strengths in storytelling, two-way conversations, communication management, and speed–and have a great 2017!

 

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