of Communication Strategies
"communication strategies" are communication behaviors done
either consciously or unconsciously to avoid the discomfort of dealing
with a complex or difficult problem. These behaviors can be interrelated,
and can impede effective progress on a project. For example, "denying
the problem" can take the form of "quick fixes" if it is
assumed that a problem does not actually exist and a quick fix will satisfy
those who are asking for change. These behaviors can include:
leaders - Finding fault with leaders (e.g., group leaders, project
directors, people in charge at different levels of government or business/industry,
or blaming others for problems, rather than looking at the ways responsibility
is shared in dealing locally with a complex situation.
the enemy - Placing the blame for a problem or mistake on an outside
group or individual.
- Placing the blame for a problem or mistake on an individual or
group, especially one with little power.
on to past assumptions - Clinging to old assumptions without proof
of the validity of these assumptions.
new assumptions - Deciding something is true, with no proof of its
the problem - Refusing to see a problem or to acknowledge a problem
to conclusions - Forming an opinion or judgment in haste, without
considering all issues involved.
a distracting issue - Substituting an issue of lesser importance,
or pursuing an unrelated goal, for the purpose of drawing attention
away from the issue being discussed. [Meeting participants may be creating
a distracting issue by suddenly taking the main subject of discussion
off the table, or by shifting the focus from the main issue to the symptoms
of stress caused by the main issue.]
standard operating procedures - Following established procedures
even when they are not appropriate to the issue under discussion. This
strategy is sometimes used to avoid designing new, more applicable approaches
to the problem.
Sitting back and watching two group members engage in an angry exchange
that diverts attention from the issues under discussion. Distancing
can diminish a sense of shared responsibility.
news" leaders -
Soothing followers by shifting the focus from tough issues to less challenging
ones. These leaders avoid mobilizing people to tackle difficult issues.
[This is done most often when people suspect that progress on crucial
problems will require tough adjustments on their part.]
"quick fixes" - Substituting a simple solution to avoid
examining the complexities of an issue. [One indication of a quick fix
is that a sudden drop occurs in the level of stress associated with