Musthafa Ebadi
You Should Never Interrupt Your People!
by Musthafa Ebadi on March 3rd, 2014

I spent the weekend in Toronto and on my way back I started listening to the 1st episode of the new show called The Province on NewsTalk 1010 in Toronto & broadcasted on many other stations across Ontario.  When I first heard about the show on Saturday what intrigued me was that it was hosted by Ontario's Premier Kathleen Wynne.

To put the show into context the Premier would have a topic and would take calls from listeners on the topic. Today's topic was roads and infrastructure and she was joined by Glenn Murray her minister whose portfolio manages those areas. As someone who is interested in the direction and policy of our Province and our country, and as someone who had never heard our Premier I wanted to know what Ms. Wynne had to say.

While I will not dissect the Premier’s policy on this blog or the direction of provisional government on our roads and infrastructure I would like to make an observation of what it consider not a strong sign of leadership.
When the talk show started Ms. Wynne had a topic that she wanted to talk about it and then asked Minister Murray for his views.  Keep in mind that Ms. Wynne is the boss of Mr. Murray in the provisional government.  And while Mr. Murray was speaking she cut him mid-sentence and said they had to go for a break.  I was struck by that abrupt ending and couldn’t understand why Ms. Wynne will not allow him to finish the sentence and then take a break. 

I have always said that we all make mistakes every day and mistakes are part of life so I thought that was a mistake by Ms. Wynne and gave her the benefit of the doubt. In the next segment after the break there was another topic that Ms. Wynne asked Mr. Murray about his views and once again after few sentences she cut him off again and said they needed to take a break.
For someone that is in the car a lot and listens to live radio all the time I couldn’t comprehend why she will cut him on a national radio mid-sentence. I thought there could be two reasons for this.

The first that it was the Premier’s 1st rodeo at hosting a national radio show, and she probably isn’t used to the environment or doesn’t know that when the clocks tics to zero for a break she could allow the speaker – in this case Minister Murray – to finish the sentence & then go to break. I thought she was under pressure by the producers of the show and hence the sudden cutting of Mr. Murray mid-sentence. Granted that for the rest of the show they took the breaks when everyone was finished talking.

The second reason could be that that’s how Ms. Wynne manages. Let me make it a clear this isn’t a politically motivated post or a shot at Ms. Wynne or her government. Also let me make it clear that I have never worked for or against Ms. Wynne so I don’t know how she manages. I just thought the 2nd reason for this misstep could be that her style of management is to think that as the boss it’s ok to interrupt your direct reports. And while some managers will condone that type of behavior among their contemporaries I can tell you that it’s very inferioriting and insulting to cut anyone off particularly your people.

You should always let them finish their point and show them the dignity and respect that they deserve. Let them make their point and if you have to interrupt because they are going off topic or speaking for too long let them finish the sentence and then  do it politely.

Sometimes your people are too excited, or passionate about the subject, or want to emphasize their research, or want to impress their “Boss” with their knowledge, or want him/her to appreciate the gravity or complexity of a situation. By you cutting them off while they are speaking you are just hitting them with a 2X4 slab across the head. More often than not they feel disrespected, demotivated, and undermined.  

If you have someone who continues to struggle with when to stop or have hard time articulating their point address it in a private and one on one meeting.

Remember respecting your people and treating them with dignity earns you their loyalty – a very expensive commodity  these days, in fact a luxury.

Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post. 

Thanks for reading! 


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