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The Nine Common Barriers to Communication

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Conversations at Work

Part of the book series: Palgrave Pocket Consultants ((PAPC))

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A manager on a communication course led by one of the authors realized that his conversations with his staff were far more limited than was healthy. He had somehow found himself trapped by the organizational culture and structures that deliberately separated managers from the people they managed. He saw himself as an “open door” manager, approachable and friendly, but was puzzled why people rarely came to him — and why when he initiated conversations with them they were often initially guarded and even suspicious. He guessed it must just be that “manager-staff gulf” The conversations during the course highlighted the fact that something as mundane as the physical location of his office was actually influencing the way he was perceived and how approachable he was. The office he had inherited when he became the manager was at the back of the work area, so staff visiting from other offices or sites, particularly, had to negotiate all the other workstations and then his assistants before actually reaching him, way at the back in his spacious and private area. When he came back for a follow-up workshop a month later, he reported that he had moved his office further towards the front entry so that he was more visible and accessible

Attention is the price we pay for insight, understanding, critical thinking, learning, and successful action.

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© 2015 Tim Baker and Aubrey Warren

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Baker, T., Warren, A. (2015). The Nine Common Barriers to Communication. In: Conversations at Work. Palgrave Pocket Consultants. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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