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Detecting hidden messages

Words are more than what they are. At your workplace, observe the underlying meanings of what people in your team say. When listening to others, you should remember that most messages have three parts.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 16:28 IST

Words are more than what they are. At your workplace, observe the underlying meanings of what people in your team say. When listening to others, you should remember that most messages have three parts.

1 The verbal part of a message is revealed by what is said.

2  The emotional part is shown by how it is said, that is, the tone of the message.

3 The non-verbal part is revealed by what is being done while it is said or after it has been said.

To understand any message, you must listen to harmony and dissonance, say authors Jack H. Grossman and J Robert Parkinson in their book Becoming a Successful Manager. Do the tone of the message and accompanying actions reflect the used words?

If you acknowledge your colleagues’ hidden messages, it shows your interest in them as people, your sensitivity and your desire to be the best manager you can. This attitude will help you find the correct words to appreciate your employees’ emotions.

If you convey to your employees that their feelings are unwarranted and inappropriate, you will create a negative and divisive atmosphere. If you insult your reports, they may react defensively and that will adversely affect their and ultimately your department’s productivity.

If you recognise, rather than judge, your team members’ emotions, you achieve three important things. First, employees will feel that you care and that they can trust you. Second, employees’ faith in you will encourage two-way communication. Three, you will assure your employees that they are a part of a cooperative team. Thus, learning how to detect hidden messages will help you create a good team and successfully manage it.