I’ve been in Switzerland the last few weeks with my family. We’ve been staying on the border of french and german speaking Switzerland. It has been interesting watching my children (11 and 6) handling the communication. My son has made some friends in the street we are staying in. To great amusement, they have been using a form of "clangers" communication combined with much pulling of faces. But they’ve managed to play together – with a lot of smiling getting over a lot of difficulty. My daughter has bravely looked to purchase a few items, practicing her french and with the goodwill of the assistants she has come away with what she has wanted.
Kids have a natural knack of using a smile to get past a difficulty and most assistant’s can’t help but want to help a child. The boys in the street want to be able to play so they get past the communication problem. Basically, good will on most situations gets past the communication difficulty.
For any competency framework for 360 degree feedback or assessment on a performance appraisal form you can bet that communication will be a key requirement. And on a staff survey you can bet that communication is raised as an issue. Perhaps some times we should also assess people’s goodwill to each other. The manager that then struggles with communication may have less of a challenge if the people they communicate with acknowledge that they struggle with "inter-personal skills" and give them a little leeway.
Just a thought!