Friday, March 22, 2013
I’m going to make a comment involving leadership that has been made continuously since the beginning of organized business. One of the most crucial elements in becoming a successful leader is by communicating effectively. Whew I said it! That has been bothering me for some time. I really needed to write that, and now I’ve solved all leaders’ misery around the globe. Time to try and solve for world peace. I’m just kidding about that last statement. Communication is easier to discuss. The statement I made about effective communication has been rehashed so many times. Classes have been developed and taught, books have been written, and studies have all determined that communication is an important cog in the leadership wheel. If so much time has been spent trying to master communication then why is it so hard to conquer? Here are some of my thoughts;
Message-One of the things leaders struggle with is in delivering an effective message. This mental tussle between the brain and mouth doesn’t occur with the type of message needed to be sent. I think the dilemma exists with how we want to state the communication. Is the message serious or light? Is it formal or informal? Should the leader be serious looking or smile? Serious messages have been communicated with humoristic overtones and loose, informal messages have been communicated with a serious expression and tone. Both faux pas have caused confusion, awkward moments, and have cause leaders to look aloof. The final result is an ineffective message and confused subordinates.
Scripted-In today’s politically correct society the business world has developed scripting to handle all situations customers may throw at us. Leaders have scripts, dos and don’ts, and are coached to avoid saying the wrong thing. There are just too many scripts to be able to communicate properly as leaders. The message is lost in translation because it is too prepared. Employees want honest, unrehearsed dialogue with their leaders. This shows management cares enough to communicate from the heart. Being personable lets the leader be creative, warmth, and an openness that helps people better relate to leadership. If it is discovered that the message may sound inappropriate create another way to say it but make it the leaders own words not created by others.
Succinct Message-No matter what position a person holds in the organization a short but sweet mantra for communicating must be practiced. A crisp delivery helps eliminate distractions, which there is plenty of in the workplace. Remember many people are vying for each other’s time to complete personal and departmental agendas. This is reality and being able to deliver shorter messages lets people know the content is important.
Mix up communication mediums-Deliver messages at different times of the day. Effectively use verbal and nonverbal communication. Try and send e-mails, instant message people, and text if possible. Change agendas, meeting times and places. Praise and criticize equally. All of these things add variety to employee’s days. It makes leaders less predictable and these different options will keep attention spans high.
Communication is a skill that can always be improved on as a leader. It is difficult to deliver an effective message to a diverse staff. Keep developing this talent and trying to discover effective means of communication. Good luck.