R.S.V.P. – Respond Please!!


“Respondez s’il vous plait” a French phrase which means Please respond or respond please….It seems you all are wondering why we are discussing RSVP in this forum??

Haven’t we been taught that communication is a two way process, and it attains completion when the receiver sends the information back to the sender, isn’t it? Aren’t these two things related? Expecting a response (RSVP) to know the headcount (approximate) at parties or at a marriage? And how many of us do that? We hardly ever communicate back to the people who invited us, this is a common phenomenon in the West; actually it’s like practicing proper procedures.

Let’s see how we carry out this practice of ‘Please Respond’ at workplace, or let’s say in an uncomplicated language how many times do we complete the process of communication?

Instance One: The entire team knows there is a problem somewhere, but there is hardly a dialogue over that problem during the meeting. Reason can be numerous but the concern is just trouncing in the bags or closet. Hallways, water cooler tête-à-tête will have names of such people and issues clearly been conferred, but where it should be talked about, you will see managers, team leaders and other employees clearly avoiding it, some due to the fear of losing job or some due to trepidation of not confronting their seniors.

Please respond and discuss the issue, isn’t it how good leaders and managers communicate??

Instance two: Vivek, has been anxiously waiting for the outcome of the interview (for the position of General Manager- Marketing) in Company A; such protracted wait is making him more anxious as already it has been more than 3 weeks, consultant was very affirmative about the entire episode but the call has not come so far. Before he really gets perturbed, he decided to take up another job with some other company. It may not be a loss for any of them, but then the image he will carry about company A will surely go around through word of mouth.

Here again, the company failed to complete the cycle of communication and the words please respond are just hanging in the air.

Instance three: This case talks about an employee who has been harassed for almost a year for a letter of confirmation, which he needed desperately to get some loan from the bank. Every time he sent a mail to the HR department asking for the same, the buck was passed saying that no information has come from the Head of the Department. All mails to him (THE HOD) also could not resolve the issue and the pressed time lines for getting the loan also troubled this employee. The employee made up his mind to depart from the company.

The request of such nature fell on deaf ears of the HR department and the organization, the result- loss of a talented employee. What is wrong in responding, providing feedback or just communicating by any means or mode of communication to complete the communication process? The solution- Respond please.

Instance four: The tedious cycle of performance appraisal is over, forms submitted, ratings given, performance evaluation done, and now the process is nearing an end with giving appraisal letters and raise. The letters come to you through a peon or may be your team leader/supervisor and with just “congratulations” it is handed over to you. No more comments, no recommendations, no other talks, no feedback given; Wow!! Is this what appraisals are all about? This is what an employee expects at the end of the cycle?? Ask yourself, you have all the answers, just try wearing that shoe..it will surely pinch…

There have been many such instances; we come across everyday at the workplace and most of the time the problem usually pertains to “Respondez s’il vous plait”.

Communication is an integral part of any system or organization but still our managers/ leaders fail to walk the talk, you will hear a new jargon related to this every other day be it empathy, feedback, business communication, effective communication and what not, but when it comes to setting a right example by doing something, it is still in a sorry state of affairs.

Ironically, may be we should all start writing/speaking R.S.V.P. to get the response from the receiver to complete the progression, as our Managers/leaders truly require practice in the art of communicating effectively.


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