In leadership positions, we get accustomed to issuing statements and mistaking that for effective communication as a leader.
Your proclamations, commands and statements are one directional and self limiting.
Communication as a Leader Means Taking Steps to Effectively Communicate With Your Team
You can enhance your leadership in the workplace by crafting well-rounded communication. Use these seven tips to to more effectively communicate with members of your team.
#1 – As the sender, take responsibility for the receipt of your message
Check to be sure your message has been heard, processed and fully understood by your intended recipients. Give them an opportunity to ask questions and to internalize what you’re telling them.
#2 – Don’t under estimate the importance of frequency in your communication
Repeat what is important. Say it over and over again, to the point where you feel you are over-communicating.
If you are concerned that you are repeating yourself too much, just remember that it is better to over-communicate then it is to under-communicate.
You will know when you have reached a sufficient level of repetition. That point will come when every member of your team is echoing the same message in exactly the way you intended it to be heard and acted upon. Until then, don’t back off on frequency.
#3 – Communicate with consistency and clarity
Work out critical messages before you deliver them. Be sure you are not giving conflicting information. Consider how what you want to say could be interpreted or filtered by others, and take pains to eradicate any potential confusion. Test the message by delivering it and then asking others to repeat it back to you. Whatever portion they leave out or misinterpret is the part you need to work on to build greater clarity in your message.
Be sure to convey important information in multiple formats. Say it, write it, post it and exemplify it.
#4 – Create links between key messages
Weave the tapestry together instead of piling on new information that seems disjointed.
People get burned out and frustrated when there is a constant barrage of new information that seems contradictory or unrelated. As a leader, you can eliminate these feelings by tethering key initiatives to what matters most in your organization. For example, if your company has a strong mission that everyone works to fulfill, be sure you describe your change initiative in the context of the mission and how it serves that mission.
#5 – Be sure you communicate in practical rather than theoretical terms
You may be a great theoretical thinker. There is a time and place for that. But when you are asking others to make a change or when you are driving a message for others to adopt, offer practical application.
Keep your message concrete rather than actionable. Talk about specifics and examples. Describe what you are asking in relation to the real work that needs to be done. If you are sharing a vision that is too abstract, you will lose some members of the team entirely and others may have vastly different interpretations of what you’re asking.
#6 – Follow through on commitments you make
As you are communicating she messages, realize that you are also making promises and implying that you will be doing things differently, too. Additionally, as people ask you for clarification and pose questions about your message, you will be making commitments to provide additional information or materials for them. Don’t take these promises lightly. Your follow up will be that metric by which others evaluate how serious you are about the message you’ve delivered.
#7 – Where you are communicating, aim to inspire
You can get some of your work done through authority, by delivering command and control messages. But this is short-term. You will have to manage every person in every task if this is your standard approach.
Understanding Individuals is the Best Practice for Effective Communication as a Leader
As a leader, a better approach is to understand, at an individual level, what the hot buttons are for each member of your team. Understanding what matters to each person and will be motivational and inspiring, gives you much more to work with. By tapping in to these unique and inspiring appeals, you will create a strong bond of leadership instead of relying on a dictatorial method.
Using these tips, your communication will be far more effective. You won’t make the mistake of putting a message out there only to have it evaporate as soon as it is spoken.
For more on communication as a leader, check out our E-Book on Listening
Next Steps to Improving Communication as a Leader
Deb Calvert is a certified Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, Certified Master with The Leadership Challenge®and Trainer. She is the founder of People First Productivity Solutions, building organizational strength by putting people first since 2006.