How Do You Frame Your Messages?


Avery and Jamison were both good at communicating their expectations.  However, they framed their messages quite differently.

Avery said things like, “The vice-president thinks we did a good job on the project.”  “The Human Resources’ (HR) policy requires. . .”  “The customer insists that we meet the agreed upon deadline.”  “The IT (information technology) staff thinks we should all be onboard with the new software system by the first of the month.”

When communicating similar information, Jamison said things like:  “I’m very proud of you, and the vice-president told me he really likes the project.”  “I support our HR policy which requires . . ., and here is why.”  “I want you to meet the customer’s deadline as we agreed.”  “I’m committed to being in full compliance with the new software requirements and I expect you to be also.”

Put simply, Jamison owned the messages and made them personal.  Avery treated the messages like a contaminated substance and served only as a conduit through which they passed.  Avery’s approach gives rise to the expression, “He passes the buck.”

Managers who personalize their messages generate more employee commitment, as expressed by a staff member who said, “I just didn’t want Jamison to be disappointed in me.”

What do you think?

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