One of the indicators of an effective leader is how well he or she communicates. Great communication is the sharing, imparting and teaching of information, methods and vision among your people to enable them to perform better in their work.
If you want to be more consistent and effective in enabling your team to perform, then consider these ways to enhance your communication.
1. Stop and Take Time
Never be in a rush to communicate. Being busy is one thing; allowing your workload to dictate what you say makes everyone a victim of circumstance in which you have ultimate control of the message. Don’t communicate in passing or hurriedly, but take the time to think and express your thoughts.
2. Be Engaged in the Conversation
Are you unfocused because of all the items vying for your attention? Do you look your people in the eyes when you talk with them? Do you let others passing by, or emails or phone calls, interrupt your talk? Not being truly engaged tells your people that they are not really important, and you don’t have time to help them understand. Don’t let them figure it out because you’re not connected. Be there, both in person and in thought.
3. Be Clear
Our world needs leaders to impart higher clarity. Give specific expectations on what needs to be done and how. Have the recipient repeat what was said and expected. Make sure you have set the stage properly because you have as much of the blame for failure as well as success.
4. Give Context
Talk details, backdrop and prior work leading up to this point. “Need to know” is not always good policy, as most times talking more about context will not only enable the free flow of ideas but will also help your people grow and develop, which in turn makes your organization stronger.
5. Ask Before Finding Fault
When your desired results are not met, the first step is always to ask for the other person’s input and understanding. Questioning, and thus assuming about, someone’s work when they were not told the context or what they should and should not do will increase disengagement and your credibility. Don’t correct before you ask; seek to gain understanding so you can better understand what parts of the process need to be addressed.
6. Look to Improve Yourself First
I’ve seen many times when a manager will reprimand their employee only to have the employee, and many times other employee witnesses, inform the manager that the manager had been unclear or omitted that information. Very few leaders take responsibility for learning how to craft a more effective message. Be willing to seek and improve yourself first and this will prevent anxiety and mistrust among your people.
Great communication comes from yourself first. Having a clear message that can be understood by others and enables them to perform at their best will be the difference maker in your organization. Always be cognizant of how you communicate and what you say.
You always get what you ask for...or don’t ask for.
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Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership, strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership.