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Bountiful Miscommunication

February 25th, 2021

by Henry Poydar

in Newsletter

Hi friend and TGIF, where you get to finish up work for the weekend and then, well, most likely hang out in the same place where you work. Hang in there.

This week I’ve been thinking a bit about miscommunication. Odds are that it is trending up everywhere, for the simple reason that there is so much over-communication in the mostly-remote work-scape.

The sheer volume of chat messages, emails, and video calls almost guarantee that bad assumptions are made somewhere along the line. And bad assumptions lead to costly outcomes, especially when they are towards the beginning of a chunk of work.

There are some tactics to avoid miscommunication, and @yaphi1 captures four of them in this article, writing, “you can avoid plenty of miscommunications by defining key terms, walking through examples, writing things down, allowing time to think, and confirming decisions.” Have a look to see how you can apply these tactics.

Another way to stamp out miscommunication (and be a better manager) is to faithfully schedule and attend one-on-one meetings with everyone on your team. The temptation to postpone and skip these meetings when you are in the thick of things is huge, but don’t give in. One-on-ones are the path to trust, retention, and avoiding bad assumptions.

Usually, I’m wary of “one simple trick” advice, but I found this article intriguing: A Psychological Trick to Evoke An Interesting Conversation. The idea is to ask a dumb question to get a smart answer, and I’m going to (delicately) try it out in a couple of one-on-ones.

Have a great (and hopefully screen-free) weekend,

Henry

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I'm Henry Poydar, founder of Status Hero. I've been writing software and leading both co-located and remote software teams for 20+ years.

In that time I've learned a lot about team communication, software estimation, and managing people — mostly the hard way.

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