Good communication and decision-making skills the keys to professional growth

  • Focus
  • Friday, 10 Apr 2015

IT IS funny how when you walk into a cafe, you can immediately capture a hundred different emotions.

In one corner, there is the happy couple on a date staring into each other’s eyes and the romance is getting stronger by the minute.

In the other corner, there is usually an individual who is either staring into thin air or looking at his phone or tablet.

This individual is obviously sad and probably pondering his next step in life.

If he is wearing a suit and tie, he is planning his next career move. If he is wearing casual clothes and his eyes are a little red, then he has just broken up or had a fight with his girlfriend.

You may think I am being rather presumptuous, but as a journalist who likes to go to cafes for the free Wi-Fi, you can’t help but ask that sad person if he is alright.

The answers I have gotten have made me come to the conclusions I made earlier.

My most recent cafe story comes from a lady named Rose, obviously not her real name.

She felt drained and depressed when I asked her what was wrong because she said she had just been rejected for a particular job.

She was not really disappointed that she did not get the job but was more upset that she was not told that she did not get the job.

This was made worse by the fact that she had rejected other offers because she had made the final interview.

Rose is not the first person I have met in my career who has told me of this problem.

Many of my friends and I also constantly whine about this. It’s not about the failure of not getting the job, it is just about basic communication!

My colleagues and I in the emcee business are constantly vying for certain events on a weekly basis.

I always end the conversation with the event company by saying politely, “If this event is cancelled or the client decides to go with someone else, please let me know. I will not get offended.”

“No problem, of course,” the event organiser usually responds.

In my career, however, very few would call you back to give you a final update.

A close colleague of mine once had to find out through the media that he did not get job that he applied for.

This behavior is not limited to any particular industry. When I was working in the corporate world, I found people were the same — nobody wanted to be the bearer of bad news.

I remember telling a particular colleague once, “Please call that candidate to tell her that the company is going to appoint someone else.”

This colleague was almost pulling out his hair and kept saying, “Oh my goodness, I don’t want to do this. I have to be blunt and what is this person going to think of me?”

My other colleagues and I told him off immediately and said, “If you don’t call this candidate, she is going to think you and our company are very unprofessional.”

One particular chief executive officer (CEO) once said to me, “I think I got promoted very quickly because I was not afraid to communicate and make unpopular decisions.

“Internally, within the company, I think there were better candidates than me, but I stood out because I was not afraid to communicate the news, good or bad.”

What this CEO said is true.

Besides the reluctance to inform unsuccessful recruitment candidates of their rejection, ever notice how many people at work are scared to make a decision?

They are so scared that they pass the buck to their boss.

The boss then passes it to his boss, and that is where the bureaucracy starts.

I am not advising against consulting the boss, but please communicate the information, whether it is pleasant or not-so- pleasant.

Recruitment and company decisions that affect people are a sensitive topic, but it becomes an angry topic when you don’t communicate the news properly, like in the case of our friend Rose.

The Malaysian dream is to become a boss and drive a BMW.

But remember, most of the time, the big boss is not the most popular person.

This is because he is a decision maker, and not everybody in the company will be happy with the decisions that he makes.

So do you still want to be the boss?

I hope so, but remember it can be a lonely road.

The CEO I spoke about earlier, well, he also told me about the loud talk and lonely walk of leadership.

“I speak loudly and sometimes speak harshly to my staff because I am trying to get the best out of them.

“At that time they may hate me and complain behind my back — and that is fair. But at least they have each other. When I take my papers and walk into the boardroom to meet the directors, whom do I have?

“It’s a lonely walk and if I am not a firm manager, I could also be walking out the exit door,” he said.

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Opinion , Central Region , Ben Ibrahim


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