The ability of others to connect to you frequently and instantly highlights an interesting human behavior. The speed in which a colleague reaches you creates an identical expectation as to how long it will take you to respond. Similar to a fast-paced ping pong game, your colleagues expect you to be responsive just as quickly as they got the ball to your side of the table.
“Responsiveness is the degree to which you get back to colleagues and foster progress.”
Have you been labeled as unresponsive?
First of all, do your colleagues use the phrases “black hole,” “bottomless pit” or “it’s like pulling teeth” when describing the challenges in reaching you? Your colleagues are reaching out to you for a reason. Most of the time, your colleagues are contacting you to obtain something from you in order to make progress on whatever is important to them. Some colleagues may be reaching out just to say “hello,” yet even those colleagues are looking for something – opportunities to build a professional relationship with you. If you have been labeled as a “black hole,” you are injuring your visibility in two ways:
- Your unresponsiveness impacts negatively on the progress of others.
- Your unresponsiveness impacts the desire for others who might want to reach out to you in the future.
These behaviors are visibility decelerators
Your unresponsiveness creates frustration and damages relationships. You become an obstructionist of individual and organizational progress. Do any of the following characteristics seem familiar to you when you think about being responsive to others?
- You never return phone calls or respond to your email.
- It seems that you have to be caught “live” in your office or on the phone in order for your colleague to connect with you.
- You don’t recognize (and in some cases, don’t care) that you are unresponsive.
- When you do get back to your colleagues, you mask your behavior with self-effacing humor or by overusing happy face emoticons.
Ed’s new book Drive Your Career: 9 High-Impact Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Own Success – Coming this fall!
Have you listened to Ed’s new podcast called Be Brave @ Work? It’s all about saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done. Listen here!