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The Danger of the Communication Vacuum

One of the reasons I am so adamant about over communicating and being very clear and thorough is the communication vacuum.

The basic premise is this: when there is a gap in the communication (a vacuum), the individual has a natural tendency to fill that vacuum. In the majority of the cases, they will fill that vacuum with the worst possible concept.

When this happens, the employee builds up stress and anxiety and may even spread unfounded rumors. The manager then has to do even more work to overcome the mistaken information later.

For example, let's say an employee asks for some funding related to project for an activity. I say something like "I'm sorry, but I can't do that right now. I'll let you know more after my meeting with the Sr. Team." The reason for the denied request was not given. The employee now has a vacuum and can fill it in with anything. It could be concern she is getting fired. It could be that the company is going bankrupt. Or any number of things that her imagination can conjure up.

The manager now has to put out a fire because of all the imagined issues.

It may be that the manager can't say anything, or doesn't really know, but give all the information. In this case (it was a real life example), the manager couldn't approve it because accounting was changing their system over the weekend and management was briefing them on the impact for invoices. The manager didn't want to do anything until he knew the process and the potential impacts. It wasn't anything bad, but because the manager didn't give the full information, it led to a lot of unnecessary stress for everyone.

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