If you look at the best corporate leaders, they all have one thing in common: great communication. Great leaders know how to connect to people on multiple levels and inspire people to think, do and be better. While there’s no one secret to being a good communicator as a leader, here are three tips:
- Be Curious
One of the more tempting things to do as a leader is to fix issues when staff members bring them to your attention. However, this isn’t healthy for you – or for them. First, it creates a team that is dependent on you for answers. Second, by providing the answers you’re adding extra work into your already busy workload. Your people will never grow if you don’t challenge them to think outside of their comfort zone(s). And, if you’re not preparing them, developing them, mentoring and challenging them you’re not really doing the best job you can be doing as a leader either.When employees come to you with possibilities, challenges, problems or issues, ask them what they would propose as a solution. However, don’t just stop there, but be very conscientious of your voice tone and inflection. Challenge them further by asking questions such as:
- Purpose: e.g. What’s the intention/goal/objective? What are you trying to accomplish?
- Timing: e.g. When did this problem start? When did you first notice it? When were things last “normal”?
- Predictions: e.g. If you didn’t do/did do that what would happen?
- Who Else? e.g. Is there anyone else involved that you strategize with? What does ____ say/think about this? What was ____’s recommendation? Why do you agree/disagree?
- Notification: e.g. Should someone else be notified? Has someone else been notified?
By asking the right questions, you are helping your team explore options and opportunities to find their own solutions, many of which may be more creative, innovative and better than your own ideas. This can greatly aid employees to feel valued, needed, important and critical member of your organization. Most importantly, they will appreciate that you didn’t just give them the answer, you believe that they have the knowledge and expertise to find the solution and through questioning, pulled the answer within their own knowledge base!
- Give Win-Win Choices
- There is a time and place for ultimatums. “Rob a bank and you’ll go to jail”, is one such example of an ultimatum. However, in the workplace, ultimatums, or always feeling that a leader is flexing his or her muscle, can be challenging for employees.Certainly, leaders are put into roles to guide individuals, teams, etc. However, this is where communication skills can play a key role in getting things accomplished, while improving morale in the process.
Just how is it done? One simple way is through win-win choices. For example:
Two leaders need employee, Alex, to pull reports and have them prepared by Friday at noon. Leader #1 communicates to Alex this way: “Alex, I need this report presented to me at noon on Friday.”
One the other hand, Leader #2 communicates to Alex in this way: “Alex, we can either review the report together or you can present it to me, but I will need it by Friday at noon. Which would you prefer?”
While neither leader has communicated poorly, Leader #2 offered Alex and option, thereby making him feel valued, where Leader #1 only gave a directive. The true beauty in the way that Leader #2 communicated is that the end result is the same no matter what choice Alex makes the report will still be provided on Friday at noon, yet, Alex feels valued.
When you use the win-win method of communication you’ll get the same result for all employees! Give them a choice and you keep them happy and motivated.
- Be a Great Storyteller
- Find a great leader and you’ll also find a fantastic storyteller. You’ll find someone who translate even the most complex information into digestible metaphors, illustrations and sensory-based experiences. How? Because they truly know how people communicate and they craft that into their style of communication.
Rather than discussing the ins and outs of Google’s Panda Algorithm filter for search engine optimization and how this impacts search engine results, it may be better to use an illustration. For example: “Pandas are hungry and love to eat. This is how I remember Google’s Panda Algorithm filter. Google is hungry for well-written, quality articles and content. By writing quality content that is better than other content that is similar, Google will tend to rank the better content higher.”
Additionally, great storytelling connects the senses (sound, touch, sight, smell/taste) through words. While every sentence doesn’t need to connect all the senses (Whew!) metaphors, illustrations, examples, stories should try to light the brain with sensory experiences that are relatable and memorable. The more that people resonate with what you say as a leader, the more likely they are to engage with your initiatives.
Whether your organization is seeking assistance for meeting planning, corporate retreats, or travel incentive programs there’s a solution for you at Gavel International. Contact us for more information.