Your greatest leadership strength is your ability to communicate. Do this well and everything else will fall into place. There are four key components to effective leadership communication: listening, planning, delegating and documenting.
Communication systems start with learning how to listen; to employees, suppliers, shareholders and, of the highest importance, the customers you are serving. Understand that humans respond best when they feel seen, heard and understood. Develop a communication style that is based on listening first.
Do you ever feel like your employees, vendors, customers and/or partner don’t listen to you? Consider how that makes you feel. When you don’t feel seen, heard or understood, you are not likely to want to fully contribute. Effective leaders are great listeners who ask solutions-focused questions to drive results.
A great listening strategy is to be curious and ask questions to fully understand what the other person is saying. A front-line employee will provide you with amazing insight into your own business when you take the time to listen.
It’s okay that you don’t always agree with or like what you hear. It helps to remember you are gathering information and making the other person feel valued. I remind myself in these situations that “Acknowledgement is not Agreement”, and this takes the pressure off having to respond.
Schedule effective communication meetings daily, weekly and/or monthly with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
When giving feedback to your team, remember this: people don’t like performance reviews any more than they liked report cards in school. Considering how humans are wired, reviews are counterproductive unless the individual is getting only praise. Performance reviews cause anxiety and fear in the person being reviewed. What works better is a performance plan where you sit down together and collaboratively establish goals that support the company’s objectives.
Communicate expectations clearly and work together to set daily and performance goals.
Delegation is a communication skill that gives others the authority and responsibility to act on your behalf.
When delegating, tell your employee about your expectations, including requirements and expectations. Be very clear on the overall objective and required outcomes. Include all available resources, and determine the schedule, due date and methods to complete the task. If you have yet to write a process document for this task, include that in the instructions so that you have this the next time this task needs to be done.
Ask questions of the delegate so that you are confident you have communicated your request clearly.
Essentially, a documented system acts as instructions. When using your system, anyone could come in and do a task exactly how you want it done and in a way that benefits the business.
It’s a fantastic leadership skill because it boosts your employees’ motivation by giving them autonomy. Plus, it gives you greater personal freedom because you won’t have to keep telling everyone what to do. Documenting the way you want your company to operate will reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction.
By documenting systems, you are able to delegate tasks and focus on what’s most important in your business.
Practice effective communication in any leadership role.
It doesn’t matter what type of leader you are or what type of business you run, effective communication skills are applicable all the time, everywhere.
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey.
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