Member Login

Indirect Communication and How It Undermines Trust in Organizations

There are many different things within an organization that can kill trust and one of the biggies is ‘communication’. Further, one of the most destructive communication sins when it comes to trust is what I call ‘indirect communication.’


Most of us have both experienced ‘indirect communication’ and/or have practiced it, at one time in our lives.


In organization speak it is called other things like, ‘back stabbing,’ ‘throwing people under the bus’ (my all-time favorite), ‘going behind one’s back,’ or ‘going over someone’s head.’ That’s one form of ‘indirect communication’ most often engaged in by co-workers trying to gain a competitive advantage with a boss by dragging someone down.

Another form is when a supervisor, leader, manager (call them what you will) attempts to address behavior issues with a blanket memo or staff meeting when the issue is only with one person.


Instead of dealing one-on-one with that individual the supervisor calls everyone together to go over the ‘policy and procedures’ manual thinking that reminding the whole team of the guidelines will solve the issue and save them having to confront the individual.


What usually happens is that everyone in the room knows who the perpetrator is and becomes more resentful of that person for pulling everyone into it, and loses trust in their leader who has exposed their weakness because the issue is not being dealt with one-on-one.


The real work environment killer is that the individual perpetrator doesn’t ‘get it.’ They don’t see themselves or their behavior as a problem and the directive goes right over their head so they keep doing it.


This happens more often than you may think and it is a trust and work environment killer. I know because I have experienced first hand many times.


How about your company? How is indirect communication negatively impacting your organization? 


Being informed is halfway to solving the problem, which is why I am giving all readers a copy of this special report "The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication” downloadable from:


Box 1009, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Phone: 401-884-2778
Fax: 401-884-5068
© Society for the Advancement of Consulting. All Rights Reserved. Web Site Design and Hosting by
WebEditor Design Services, Inc.