Recently I overheard a business owner telling an employee, “You’re wrong, wrong, wrong!” The employee simply dropped his head in embarrassment and said nothing. A few days later he quit after finding another job.
Many times when team members feel misunderstood, not heard, or humiliated – they quickly become cynical of the project, company, boss and some of their team members. While employees also have the responsibility for clearing up any misunderstandings, the ultimate responsibility falls on the leader to continually inspire his or her team and elicit the best from them – it’s all in the communication.
Communication is Everything
Each Word Conveys a World. Choose your words carefully. Everyone has their own interpretation of what a word means due to their experiences, education and learning styles. Take the time to explain what you are saying when others don’t readily understand. This may include using a picture, showing them the specific item, writing down an outline or details, etc.
Listen Past Emotional Filters. We all have them when we listen to someone. For example, some employees may listen to you as a critical parent, while others may find the same statements inspiring. The challenge is to be aware of the words you choose to use, your tone of voice and other non-verbal expressions. Rely on your business coach to help uncover the filters that are getting in your way.
Be Open to the New. You don’t know everything … no matter how many years of experience you’ve had in your job. For example, you may understand a company’s system; but, may not understand how to improve it to save time and money. Brainstorming new ideas and aligning on the details creates new results.
Be Present with Others. Many times miscommunication can be prevented when we put down our electronic gadgets. This includes during meetings, impromptu get-togethers, phone calls, emails (yes, we attempt to multi-task when we are reading), etc.
Build Win-Win Outcomes. I once observed a high-level boss who could take some of the strangest remarks and turn them into the most insightful comments he had ever heard. He did this authentically and as a result, all of his team members felt valued. Learn how to listen for new possibilities and build win-win outcomes. Remember to brainstorm and establish a goal before delving into the details of producing the desired outcome.
Clean- up Misunderstandings Now. It’s important to quickly uncover and resolve any miscommunication. It will only take a few minutes to check back with your team or employee to clarify what they heard you say. Otherwise, it may take hours or months to rectify the issue.
Be Humble. Listen to understand an employee’s dilemma instead of mentally thinking of how to fix it. Then, after they have vented (and, before you start offering your advice), ask what they believe the best course of action may be to resolve it. Then, brainstorm and select the intended result before putting together the details.
Help Others Understand Each Other. Use qualified assessment tools to help your team members gain an objective perspective of their own and others’ communication styles. Then, take it a step further and provide communication skills training. These efforts will pay dividends for years to come! (For more information, click here.)
Remember, inspiring leadership requires powerful communication skills.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
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Jeannette Seibly is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. She has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 24 years; along the way, she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She Check out her website, or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.