The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: They won’t use the phone

Question: “Staff have stopped phoning people completely. They email, tweet and facebook but refuse to speak to customers and suppliers in real time. Why?” Ellie

Answer: “With schools focusing on IT, alongside rapid growth of social media, increasingly businesses are complaining about the lack of communication skills in young employees. The reality is we’re all guilty as it’s often quicker and easier to respond via the screen rather than pick up the phone.

Effective communication requires a mix of approaches and knowing how, why and when to choose which method is too complex a topic for this column.

What’s interesting is your use of the word “refuse”. That says more about your managerial style than their attitude. I suspect that the antagonism implied is more your world view than theirs. You’ve exaggerated their response to your failure to get them to change so you can say ‘It’s not my fault’.

Think about how you approached the topic. Did you talk with them, as opposed to them? Did you go in with a genuine interest to understand and thereby help to bring about change, or to demand change with no understanding?

So reframe “refusal” to “reluctance”. Encourage by leading by example, have an email free day to help shift behaviours, ensure there’s a clear company communications policy, identify and then resolve the barriers preventing them from complying.”

Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd.  To solve your problem email laura@mtc2.co.uk Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.