Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More Than the Message: What Leaders Can Do to Stand Out as Communicators


Communication is one of the most powerful tools leaders can use, but often it takes a while to harness these skills. We’ve all found ourselves looking around the room wondering if employees are really understanding what we are saying. Do they care? Are they even listening? Are we engaging them?

Good communication gets a point across, but great communication puts value and power in individuals while conveying information gracefully. The making of great communication comes a variety of skills and actions, not just messaging. Here are the top 5 best practices for leadership to remember when communicating with employees.

1. Listen

Great leaders are great listeners and great listeners become great communicators. Broadcasting a message does not yield the same result as having a meaningful conversation. Value your employees and ask them to share their thoughts and ideas. Knowledge is gained from listening, not from constantly contributing to a conversation.

2. Be personable

The more personable the message, the more engaged employees will be. Corporate communication can often become dry or leave employees feeling they are left in the dark. Developing relationships will help you understand your employee’s thoughts and create a dynamic workplace. As Theodore Roosevelt stated, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

3. Share, share, share

When leaders share their knowledge they become a trusted source of information. Keeping information under wraps often portrays deceitfulness. It is important to always release, within reason, as much information to employees as possible.

4. Trust

We’ve all had the boss that didn’t trust us and micromanaged our every move. Always trust your employees and believe they are going to do the right thing. A work environment were employees don’t feel trusted leads to bitterness. How does an employee trust leadership if they’re not being trusted?

5. Don’t forget the ‘little things’

A simple hello in the hallway, ‘thank you’ email, productive feedback or buying the office some donuts goes a long way. Appreciation is often overlooked. Let your team know you are proud of them and support their effort and in return they will support you.

Just remember, communication is not about you, your opinions, your positions or your circumstances. It’s about helping those around you, meeting their needs, understanding concerns and adding value. Try some of these best practices to reduce the communication problems you may experience.