COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP
The rapidly changing and fast-paced environment of today’s workplace requires leaders to have the tools and the skill sets they need to remain productive, efficient, and effective. With hybrid and remote work becoming more standardized and permanent, it falls to leaders to fill the void left by the COVID-19 pandemic. Communication must be the first step.
Communication has always been a hot topic, and countless books, seminars, and training materials have been written about it. Communication comes down to when, how, and what to communicate. However, how about WHO, WHERE, and WHY to communicate? In order to avoid miscommunication and over-communication, managers must focus on these elements as well.
WHO TO COMMUNICATE WITH
A manager will face situations where he or she will need to decide who to communicate with to help solve a management dilemma. Questions such as: Should I bring this up the chain of command or should I delegate it to the team? Can I discuss the specific problem I am experiencing with this person? What are the chances of this concern overcomplicating things if I share it with the person I want to share it with?
You probably came up with your own questions that you also had to overcome in your own position. When we consider some of these questions before making decisions, we can structure our communication to be more specific in nature and filtered so that we are communicating with the right people.
WHERE TO COMMUNICATE
While we have all heard the idea of taking certain issues offline, sometimes communication is best left in a group setting where everyone benefits. Sometimes false humility gets the better of leaders when learning how to ask impactful and crucial questions is left to those with more experience. Leaders must learn how to ask better questions and engage the whole team in constructive problem-solving. The capability of raising a topic for the betterment of the group in a manner that serves the entire team is something every manager should possess.
Of course, this does not mean asking questions you already know the answer to. This can be perceived as arrogant and like being a smart-aleck, and no one likes that type of leadership style. As a result, you will definitely be able to be more effective in meetings by asking questions that you have taken adequate time to think through, process, and draft out in your head prior to meetings.
Some people avoid this because of the fear of being in the spotlight or asking a stupid question. These feelings definitely impact workplace safety and how environments are set up to encourage others to be more courageous. We will discuss this at a later date. It’s important to make sure you have taken good notes, processed some items, and don’t be afraid to put certain topics or questions on hold until you have had adequate time to process them. Hasty responses don’t accomplish anything.
WHY ARE YOU COMMUNICATING
Among the many frustration points, I have witnessed is when people don’t know WHY they are saying what they are saying. If you simply talk to hear yourself talk, to fill in silence (white noise), or just to appear that you are contributing to a conversation then you will need to work on this. As leaders, we need to understand why we are communicating what we are communicating. Thinking through and processing our points is essential, and this is how we do it right by having thought through the questions asked of us.
We will have a much stronger WHY when it comes time to deliver the messages we want when we don’t fail to think critically about the various management dilemmas we face in the workplace, analyze critically how we think the problems can be solved, and bounce ideas off others to filter our thinking. Too often, I have seen a rushed response and a paltry amount of time spent processing the situations we confront. I have also experienced this, and I had to work hard at overcoming it.
Our teams deserve a stronger response from us as leaders, so we need to spend more time considering possible roads to our solutions. Solving management dilemmas requires more than just one approach. Solving a problem is as diverse as there are people on earth. You cannot succeed based on rank, management level, or tier. In order to deliver information effectively to your teams, it is important to process the information and ask for input from those around you.