Communicating For Success
By Aman S. Dhesi
Communications skills are invaluable. They provide that all important ingredient that separates the leaders that can inspire and motivate from those who cause their staff to fall apart. Without a doubt, it is the top element that is required for anyone in a managerial position to have a successful, productive and positive team environment.
Why communication, you may ask? Don’t knowledge, experience and expertise count for anything? Of course they do; having the know-how and years of experience under your belt is what got you a leadership position in the first place. However, once you reach that level there is another skill that is required. Think about it – aside from taking on a new set of projects and tasks, you are now managing people. You are now in charge of a staff that is comprised of people equipped with the full range of human emotions and issues that, when set off, will not be resolved by simply hitting the ‘restart’ or ‘delete’ button.
So why is communication so important in leadership? Because it is what will help resolve conflict, engage the disgruntled employee and allow you to provide feedback to your staff whenever necessary.
With that said, what are some of the methods that determine an excellent and communicative leader? The following suggestions will immensely improve your team’s morale, productivity and overall engagement with work. Keep in mind, while they are just suggestions, we are shouting them out at the top of our lungs.
Being in a leadership position gives you the chance to steer where the organization is heading. The best leaders are the ones that can communicate a clear vision of organizational goals and continuously remind their staff of the company vision through team meetings, quarterly reviews and company functions. By communicating the ‘big picture’, it effectively brings staff members on board and gives each worker a sense of urgency and value. Staff members will not only take ownership of their tasks, but gain a sense of purpose and meaning with their work.
Standing in front of your team and delivering a motivating and enthusiastic speech on the company’s strategic vision is a great start. However, it is important to go a step further and connect with your team on a personal and individual level. Take the time to get to know each member of your team, give them the chance to openly and honestly discuss their views, concerns and suggestions.
Never forget that your team members have interests and hobbies outside of work. The best leaders honour and acknowledge their team’s interests and continuously give them opportunities to demonstrate their unique talents and abilities. So if you have someone on your team that has a secret dream of being a singer, get them onstage to showcase their talents at the next company event.
As a leader, your day-to-day interaction with your team needs to be clear, honest and direct. In many cases, this is not as easy as one may think. There will be many situations where you will need to address an issue of conflict or give negative feedback to a member of your team.
Doing so successfully requires you to be straight-forward and completely transparent. It also involves a healthy dose of emotional intelligence; another important element in the art of communication. As a leader, having a high EQ (emotional quotient) requires you to gauge a situation and use the appropriate amount of emotion, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate person. It means having enough self awareness to be able to monitor and regulate your own emotions while dealing with an angry employee or when providing negative feedback to a member of your team.
Communication sets the foundation of any relationship, whether personal or professional. As a leader in the workplace, being an effective communicator will not only determine your relations with your team, but it will influence the relationship your employees will have with their work and their organization.
Aman S. Dhesi is an HR assistant at Arlyn-Reid Associates.