Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Micromessages, microinequities, microaffirmations, ... or should you sweat the small stuff

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Micromessages, microinequities, microaffirmations, ... or should you sweat the small stuff

Do you know someone who looks up when you walk into his office, consciously puts his work aside, beams a smile and opens with a welcoming question?

Do you know someone who glances up and quickly away, stays focused on her computer, watches the time and barely acknowledges your words when you enter her office?

Have you ever walked into a meeting, been greeted cordially and still felt you were an outsider?

Stephen Young is creating a language to describe the positive and negative messages which exist at the microlevel of communication. These micromessages create inclusion, exclusion, motivation and punishment at such a subtle level, there have been few ways to discuss them. By giving a language to the micromessages, Stephen Young provides leaders a new skill area that can be used to inspire and motivate others.

When you interact next with a colleague, subordinate, friend or family member, take conscious note of the following:
  • Facial expression
  • Tone of voice
  • Hand gestures
  • Choice of words
  • Eye contact
  • Use of questions
  • Level of interaction
Consider what micromessage you were sending and what was received. As you become conscious of the messages you are sending, remember what one CEO noted in the book - it's not about sending everyone the same message, it's about being fair.

Much of what comes up in a google search on micromessaging is from the diversity arena. Rest assured that Young's message goes well beyond the challenges that arise across gender, race and intercultural dimensions. The impact of the positive and negative micromessages are felt every day in board rooms, meeting rooms and lunch rooms.

Maybe you should sweat the small stuff.

Read more at:
Why the Boss May Treat You Right, Time by Julie Rawe
Microinequities: When Small Slights Lead to Huge Problems in the Workplace, DiversityInc by Eric L. Hinton
Improve Morale by Eliminating Subtle Slights in the Workplace, The WallStreetJournal Online by Joann S. Lublin

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