12 bad communication habits to break in IT

12 bad communication habits to break in IT

Do you start conversations on the wrong note? Deliver the right message at the wrong time? CIOs share the communication traps that hold individuals and teams back

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April 16, 2018
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7. Expecting top communication skills from everyone

Cody Swann, CEO, Gunner Technology: “A bad communication habit in IT that needs to be broken is the fairy tale that we can force everyone to be good communicators. Having a successful company means being honest about the strengths and weaknesses of your team, and a large chunk of the IT team would much rather show you when something is done than talk about it while it's under construction. So what do we do then? We hire project managers. Planning and communication is literally their job description. Their function within the organization is to ask - hound if necessary - the IT pros to get updates in plain English in which they can communicate to the client, up the chain or across the room.”

8. Not listening enough

Chris Bedi, CIO, ServiceNow: “As drivers of digital and cultural transformation, today’s IT leaders need to up-level their EQ as they act as evangelist, educator and salesperson. Their audiences and constituents have diverse needs: the C-suite, the board of directors, employees, partners, and customers. They need to listen as well as lead to assure a holistic approach to change that involves all aspects of the organization.”

9. Right message, wrong timing

Ian McClarty, president, PhoenixNAP Global IT Services: “With multiple projects, large teams, and the fast pace of the industry, excellent communication is key. The biggest problem we face is getting clear and concise communication to all team members at the right time. Offline, off the cuff development discussions, poorly communicated decisions, and rapid changes can slow development to a grinding halt. The best thing companies in the industry can do to mitigate this is to empower their team members. Creating a culture where questions and creativity are encouraged is both key and beneficial. Documenting project related communications thoroughly through use of a dedicated project manager or similar can go further to help make sure everyone is on the same page. By communicating more clearly and more often, development cycles can be reduced, saving the company money and time.” 

10. Communicating too narrowly

Doug Bordonaro, chief data evangelist, ThoughtSpot: “One of the biggest communications mistakes I see from IT professionals is thinking of their ‘team’ as people who work for them or people who work for their manager instead of the entire company, and communicating with them accordingly. Withholding exposure to the broader business, however, limits IT leaders' ability to align their teams with business processes and programs, effectively hindering their ability to solve business problems.”

11. Leaving email unanswered

Phil Tee, CEO, Moogsoft: “Communicate with everyone, regardless of any silly notions of hierarchy, and give them the respect they all deserve. I clear my inbox every day. If someone has taken the time to reach out to me, I want them to know that I appreciate their time and acknowledge whatever the conversation holds. This is a difficult task, as I need to wake up early each morning and set multiple times aside to go through my inbox each day, but it’s worth it. My team knows that I am available and willing to help improve our work each day.” 

12. Failing to explain the how and the why

Jason James, CIO, Optima Healthcare Solutions: "One of the worst communication habits I see with IT leaders is a lack of transparency in communication outside of the IT staff. Communication often comes in the form of limited updates, vague responses, and technical jargon rather than simplified explanations and targeted messaging. For example, digital transformation confronts the entire workforce with unfamiliar and often radical change. IT leaders must take the time to be transparent with not just their IT staff, but also with employees across departments about the reasons for digital transformation, how it impacts the user and why the change is important. It’s not about selling employees on the latest and greatest technology, but about building IT advocates across the business who understand the need for change." 

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One comment

12 bad communication habits

12 bad communication habits to break in IT, this was really useful and refreshing my thoughts to act as applicable going forward.
I would like to add by stating:
1. One shouldn't over communicate
2. Keep messages clear and brief.
3. Be polite and check one's tone
4. Prepare and Proofread prior to communicating
5. Knowing the culture of the person with whom one interacts is important as well.

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