In the previous post I wrote about doors. Again. Why a big part of the bosses talk like this when the communication is poor: «My office has always the door open». And all we know that is music for our ears.
In her book «Glow», Lynda Gratton writes about the dehydrated talk to illustrate poor communication. And gives a example of a bureaucratic conversation between Barbara and her team leader, Karen.
«KAREN: “So how would you rate your performance this year on a one to five listening and putting your view forward, project planning, and creating a vision.”
BARBARA: «Well, I guess I would give myself a four on all of these – I think I have had a pretty good year, all things considered.”
KAREN: “Thanks, Barbara. I will put you down as a four for all of these. Good to see you! Let’s meet again soon.”
And Lynda expands her idea about this little talk: “This is dehydrated talk in the sense that it contains no real facts and neither Karen nor Barbara is being particularly authentic or revealing about herself. Think about the times when dehydrated talk happens to you. My guess is that it happens most often when you are in a formalized situation, simply going through the motions. Barbara is merely going through the ritual of a performance-management conversation with her team leader. Of course, sometimes performance-management conversations can be full of feedback and insight – but more often they are simply formalized exchanges in which the outcomes were predictable.”» («Glow», p. 75, Lynda Gratton)
It is no use when the leaders tell their doors are open and everybody should be free to talk to or with them. The problems are not in doors, only in behavior and intention.