Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Are You the Master of Communication Illusion?

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw
(Credit: BrainyQuote.com)
Since the beginning of time humans have tried to communication more effectively.

Progress, however, has not resulted in perfection. George Bernard Shaw stated, "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

There are numerous reason why communication fails. One large one is the human factor. Communicators and receivers fail to uphold their part of the process. Communicators fail to present a clear and concise message and may assume the message sent is the message received. Distractions inhibit receivers from actively listening to the communicator. Neither close the communication loop properly; some are so focused on their perspective, they end up talking right past the other.

As fire leaders we have a duty to practice effective communication. We owe it to one another to actively listen and remove the illusion from the communication environment.

(Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 22)

Communication is the primary tool for establishing an effective command climate. The ability to communicate effectively is universally rated as one of the most important leadership behaviors.

Communication is the foundation upon which we build trust and enable our teams to develop cohesion. Effective communication is a two-way process. Good leaders actively listen to build trust with others. Communication enables us to convey objectives and intent, break error chains, and improve situation awareness. Leaders are cognizant of the central role that communication plays in the ability to lead and always strive to become better communicators.

Five Communications Responsibilities 
  • Brief—use briefings to ensure accurate situation awareness. 
  • Debrief—use After Action Reviews to build accountability and learn from experience. 
  • Acknowledge and understand messages—acknowledge and ensure clarity of received communications on conditions, assigned tasks, intent, and other important information. 
  • Communicate hazards to others—use hazard identification, a key component of risk management, to identify personal, tactical, situational, political, or organizational hazards. Good leaders ensure that team members are vigilant for hazards and communicate identified hazards effectively. 
  • Ask if you don’t know—guard against making false assumptions when the picture is not clear.

No comments: