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Five Mistakes Leaders Unknowingly Make That Scare Employees

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Your meetings are heavy on sharing and point-proving, light on promises and requests. Why might a meeting scare your employees? Because confusion and uncertainty create fear, says Comaford. Meetings that are rambling and unfocused send people into the fight-flight-freeze of the Critter State. On the other hand, short, sweet, high-energy meetings that have a clear agenda keep everyone in their Smart State.

The key is to understand the five types of communication:

- information-sharing
- sharing of oneself
- debating, decision-making, or point-proving
- requests
- promises

The typical meeting, says Comaford, is heavy on the first three and light on the last two. Ideally, you should focus on only enough information-sharing in order to solicit requests from parties who need something and promises from parties who will fill that need.

“Tune up your communication and the result will be meetings that are efficient and effective, and that keep your team happy and clipping along to glorious accountability and execution,” promises Comaford.

You give feedback to employees without first establishing rapport. Imagine for a moment that your employees are antelopes. Because you have authority over them, they quite naturally view you as a lion. It’s not that you’re purposely ruling with teeth and claws. It’s simply their critter brains at work, peering out and “coding” who is a friend and who is a foe. That means unless you can get employees to see you as “just another antelope,” you won’t be able to influence them—they’ll be too busy ensuring their own survival to accept your feedback.

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