One of the most effective approaches is to take full responsibility for the lack of communication. After all, it may well be that your question was unclear. Why not give the other person the benefit of the doubt? You might confess you don't remember whether she gave you the information you needed...or acknowledge that you may not have grasped her explanation. Unless the person is being evasive, she'll be glad to comply.
- Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Ph.D., and Wendy Patrick Mazzarella, Reading People
Let's say you work as a manager in a software development firm where dozens of software engineers write mountains of code every week. The products are so complex that the overall design is divided among several teams. After years of your employees bringing in projects late or riddled with bugs, you discover that the key to consistent high-quality performance is getting them to practice two vital behaviors: (1) admit when they have problems, and (2) immediately speak up when they won't meet a deadline. When your software designers do these two things consistently, products get completed correctly and on time. When they don't, they don't.
Appreciation, recognition, encouragement: ARE. Together they make up a cost-free, fully sustainable fuel, one that builds self-confidence and self-esteem, boosts individual and team performance, and keeps an organization running cleanly and smoothly. ARE is more powerful than the fuels that make engines roar and space shuttles soar, because it propels human energy and motivation. And unlike costly, nonrenewable fuels like oil and gas, its supply is inexhaustible. You can give out ARE all day long, at home and at work, and wake up the next morning with a full tank. In fact, the more we use, the more there is, because every time people receive some ARE they discover more of their own internal supply and start giving away the overflow.
-Lee Cockerell, Creating Magic