Responsive Communication in the Workplace and in Life (4 min read)

During my 20+ years in the workforce, I have had the opportunity to work with thousands of people with different backgrounds and cultures. The most important thing I have learned from my work experience and personal experience is that responsiveness is the key to building better relationships and achieving success. Non-responsiveness can destroy trust, loyalty and lead to significant errors.

Respond to and Acknowledge Communication

Very early in my career, I met several very accomplished senior leaders who became my role models. I loved the way that they were communicating with everyone – they were responsive! They were the busiest people in the organization and had the most work pressures, but they managed to be always responsive to anyone that reached out to them. I am thankful to them as they exhibited great communication and in turn left me wanting to act in that way too.

The general rule of thumb of responsiveness: if anyone: family member, client, boss, colleague, or friend calls or sends you an email asking you for advice or to do something, reply and acknowledge that you heard the request. Acknowledge (desired within 1-2 hours or the most in 24 hours) that you saw/heard the request and will/will not attend it. Acknowledge! The quicker the reply, the better. This shows that you care about the person you’re communicating with and that you are on top of your work, life to-dos and schedule. Not responding can quickly result in situations of miscommunication and eventually mistrust.

Don’t Assume People Know Everything or You Are Expected to Know Everything

Why is a timely and prompt response critical? Assuming people know everything is dangerous, as this can also lead to mistakes and miscommunication down the line. It’s critical to respond to requests promptly and not to hold the process or keep others waiting. There are people who do not respond when they do not know all the answers immediately. This behavior results in low respect and eventually disregarding their existence. It’s okay to not know the answer immediately, but remember to at least acknowledge the request or order.

Building Better Relationships

Proper communication allows people to feel comfortable and thus able to communicate new ideas in an easier fashion. Employees will be more recognized for their individual talents too, and will potentially be able to utilize those talents more. People thrive off of communication. When done well, talents and needs are better understood, and conflicts are less likely to arise.

Remember, while it is easy to say that communication is crucial in running a successful business, it is often also easy to forget to carry out this very simple but very crucial responsiveness aspect. The bottom line is that responsiveness does foster proper communication. I remember to this date how impressed and empowered I was when the leaders of the company, knowing how busy they were, responded to my requests and project questions on time. Whether you are a boss, a CEO, or a junior specialist, the way you communicate contributes to all in the environment you work in. Make sure you reply and acknowledge other people that reach out to you!