Communicating as a Leader

The ways in which we communicate have never been more diverse. You could say we’ve got the rapid rise in technology to thank for instant messaging, video calling & many more, but it’s also worth noting that while technology continues its leaps and bounds in improving our efficiency, 2020 has just as much to uncover for managers in the way that you create personal relationships through techniques of your own. It’s great having all these new tools, but the trick is knowing when to use them and, most importantly, when not to! This blog will summarise some of our recent learnings & readings to help you continue to grow your comms nouse. 

Delivering your Message

With these tools at your disposal, the devil in the detail in how you convey your thought in the most relevant way. Many factors (and assumptions) are involved in this process; the assumed level of knowledge, the awareness of new technologies and most of all, understanding how applicable your insights are to your audience. 

Your use of language is a crucial starting point in this process – it allows you to cut straight through the noise and reach your audience at their level and explain your points using examples that are relevant to their interests. Language can be seen as a type of currency, if you try to use yours in the wrong place, they won’t fully understand the value behind what you’re saying (or they’ll lose interest before they do).

🤔 Looking to send an attractive, snappy message to a gen-z audience? Use emoji’s and create inspiration with examples of people similar to them (you only need to look at the rise of influencers and platforms such as Instagram for the effectiveness of these techniques).

👩‍⚕️ Giving a lecture to senior Doctors on a recent discovery? Deliver your message using logic, evidence and a provide a fool-proof plan for applying your discovery to encourage action. 

If you’re unsure where your core audience lies, or if you are looking for widespread awareness, the best you can do is simplify your message as much as possible so you can maximise the proportion of those who understand it from the first contact. Do not assume they know as much as you do on the subject, and avoid using jargon, as Gabrielle Dolan (author of Real Communication: How to be You and Lead True) states that this creates a vacuum of knowledge and can alienate your message to everyone outside your circle of knowledge. 

📊 🖥  Don’t hide behind technology! Have you ever suffered from the chronic “death by powerpoint”? Being talked to death while trying to read the exact same message from supporting slides does not inspire interaction or encourage further thought – use your tools as an aid and nothing more – let the passion flow from your voice, body language & experiences – this will keep the audience hooked on your insights, and allow you to develop a closer connection with those interested in your goal. 

Learn Lessons – NOT Pin the Blame

Our teachings from Radical Collaboration have shown that team members who show accountability are valued greatly among their peers.  Taking ownership of your decisions – through the good and the bad – and avoiding defensive behaviour is a vital building block to creating long term trust among your colleagues, which could well pay dividends for you in the future when you need something from them. 

Finding a scapegoat for the outcomes of poor decisions has no place in the modern work environment – understand that as a manager you are as responsible for your team’s decisions as they are, so if you’re looking to put a target on someone’s back for an error, you might as well add one to your own as well!

Instead, take the time to review the effectiveness of the decisions made and ensure that every outcome provides an opportunity to learn and grow as a team. If you are hiring the right people, a mistake made once, and learned from, will almost never happen again, so don’t let their growth cost them their career!

Leaders Need Feedback Too

As leaders are required to become ever more accessible, there still remains some barriers for employees to feel comfortable expressing the reality of their situations to their superior, both in work and at home. As a leader your team’s wellbeing is your number one priority (as we all know with the current news), so creating an environment where you can welcome open suggestions to improve the working culture is another way to build trust within your team, so they feel motivated knowing that you have their interests at heart as well as your own. 

For some this may be a difficult step to overcome, but the sooner your ‘open door policy’ becomes an ‘open office policy’, you can grow stronger as a unit and combine your strengths by being more open about your flaws. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the results will be as clear to see as the fall in staff turnover when you realise that the people around you love being part of your team. 

Understand as a leader, everyone’s interests are your interests too!

Stay tuned for more information about building high performing teams, and take a look at our YouTube channel to see some of our discussions.

Written by Jon Orrells

Partners In Excellence

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