Read These Leadership Communication Tips Every. Single. Day.https://c-suitenetwork.com/advisors/wp-content/themes/csadvisore/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 Jennifer Ledet Jennifer Ledet https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/517e62411acf7b10f35b4dc1d70142df?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Noise, newsfeeds, information overload, notifications, emails, text messages, podcasts, voicemails, 24-hour news cycles, you name it. We all face “busy-ness” as executives and team leaders. Our teams face it all too.
As a leader, though, you have to cut through all this noise so that your message gets through to your team members, and even more difficult, you have to craft your message in a way that will influence employees to behave or act in a certain way. That’s why they pay you the medium-size bucks, right?
Of course you have heard it before, one of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to communicate effectively. Here, I’ve put together some of the best communication skills of successful leaders.
1. Listen more than talk, ask more than tell. You may just be amazed at the results. Most people want to feel like someone hears them. Oh, and by the way, waiting for your turn to talk is not listening.
2. Over-communicate. Many leaders have a phobia of being repetitive, redundant, or generally sounding like a broken record (or a scratched CD, for you millennials). However, in all of my years in human resources, and in all of the many exit interviews I conducted, I don’t recall one employee who said she was leaving the organization because her supervisor just communicated with her TOO much. It just doesn’t happen. So I doubt seriously that you’re anywhere near the point of over-communicating. Surprisingly, some research suggests that people need to hear a message as many as seven times before they will really GET it. Marketing and advertising experts have always been aware of this fact and use it to make sure their messages get through to their potential customers, i.e., you.
3. Rather than talk ABOUT an employee, actually talk TO him. If you have an issue or conflict with a team member, address him privately and take care of it. Talking about one employee to another employee breeds distrust, and then you might as well hang it up and go home. No trust = no loyalty, no engagement, and certainly no commitment.
4. Stop issuing edicts and start having real conversations. In some organizations, there seems to be a disconnect between the executives who create policy and the frontline workers. In reality, the frontline workers are aware of and understand the real problems facing the organization. So back away from the keyboard, walk away from your spreadsheets and computer screen, and get out to the team members who are responsible for “shipping product.” Ask what’s on their minds, what challenges they’re facing. And then listen to their concerns. Have real conversations.
5. Make it personal. People who say that business isn’t personal just don’t get it. Leadership is synonymous with influence. To influence someone, there must be a relationship and mutual trust. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. People follow leaders they know, like, and trust. If your team members feel like they don’t know you – and more importantly – like you don’t know them, you don’t have a trusting relationship. As a young business professional, I worked for a leader who had thousands of employees under her responsibility. Yet I was always amazed at how she took the time to ask about me and my family. She knew and remembered details about me, and regardless of how busy she was, she seemed interested in me as a person. In other words, she invested in our relationship. Years later, when she asked me to take on a huge assignment (that I really didn’t want, I might add), I agreed because of the trust and loyalty I felt toward her and the organization.
6. Be direct without being blunt. Some executives, with the intent to be nice, sugar coat their messages. But what ends up happening is that their message is muddled, unclear, and even confusing. You’re not doing anyone any favors. At best, you may be giving someone false hope or a false sense of security, when in fact, her performance needs some dramatic adjustments. Give honest, direct feedback, along with specifics about how to improve.
7. Take responsibility for maintaining the flow of information until all of your team members are on the same page. It’s not their fault if they don’t get it. When things go South, great leaders look in the mirror and hold themselves accountable. If you have a vision to cast, a message worth sharing, or a concept you want to get across, make it your mission to ensure that everyone in the organization gets it – from the C-suite to the frontline.
8. Don’t try to fake it ’til you make it. Most people will spot a phony baloney a mile away. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, ask for help and then shut up, listen, and learn.
If you don’t top your “newsfeed” with tips and reminders like these, you will get bombarded with too much junk and noise that won’t help positively influence your team.
- How do you ensure that important messages are effectively communicated within your organization?
- What communication tips would you share with aspiring leaders?
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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication. In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.