Category Archives: Leadership
One of the indicators of an effective leader is how well they communicate.
Great communication is the sharing, imparting and teaching of information, methods and vision among your people to enable them to perform better in their work.
If you want to be more consistent and effective in enabling your team to perform, then consider these ways to enhance your communication.
Stop and Take Time. Never be in a rush to communicate. Being busy is one thing, allowing your workload to dictate what you say makes everyone a victim of circumstance in where you have ultimate control of the message. Don’t communicate in passing or hurriedly, but take the time to think and express your thoughts.
Be Engaged In The Conversation. Are you unfocused because of all the items vying for your attention? Do you look your people in the eyes when you talk with them? Do you let others passing by, or emails or phone calls, interrupt your talk? Not being truly engaged tells your people that they are not really important, and you don’t have time to help them understand. Don’t let them figure it out because you’re not connected. Be There, both in person and in thought.
Be Clear. Our world needs leaders to impart higher clarity. Give specific expectations on what needs to be done and how. Have the recipient repeat what was told and expected. Make sure you have set the stage properly because you have as much of the blame for failure as well as success.
Give Context. Talk details, backdrop and prior work leading up to this point. “Need to know” is not always good policy, as most times talking more about context will not only enable the free flow of ideas but will also help your people grow and develop which in turn makes your organization stronger.
Ask Before Finding Fault. When your desired results are not met, the first step is always to ask for the other person’s input and understanding. Questioning, and thus assuming, about someone’s work when they were not told the context or what they should and should not do will increase disengagement and your credibility. Don’t correct before you ask, seek to gain understanding so you can better understand what parts of the process need to be addressed.
Look To Improve Yourself First. I’ve seen many times where a manager will reprimand their employee only to have the employee, and many times other employee witnesses, inform their boss that they were unclear or omitted that information. Very few leaders take responsibility to learn how to craft a more effective message. Be willing to seek and improve yourself first and this will prevent anxiety and mistrust among your people.
Great communication comes from yourself first. Having a clear message that can be understood by others and enables them to perform at their best will be the difference maker in your organization. Always be cognizant of how you communicate and what you say.
You always get what you ask for, or don’t ask for.
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An email exchange between two individuals in discussing a matter occurs.
Then during the exchange another person is cc’d – usually one party’s supervisor.
This creates a conundrum of trust if handled wrong.
If the cc’ing was to keep the supervisor in the loop, then it should be explained in the email.
But many times the reason that someone is folded into the email chain is to bring a layer of accountability into the fold, many times not necessary. And this erodes trust very quickly.
Carbon copying someone’s boss on an email can send many negative tones. They may think you’re trying to pig pile on them or trying to leverage their boss to get a desired outcome. They make think that since you called in Big Sister or Big Brother, that now they’re being thrown under the bus. They are now in a defensive position and the entire tone of the working relationship will change.
CC’ing in an email is necessary if it’s done for the right reasons. If you try to play off an employee and their supervisor to get your way, you’ve created mistrust and loss of credibility.
Be very clear if you need to copy others, especially as the conversation goes. But if your intention is to hold someone accountable then you’re setting an allowance for behavior where people can create mistrust to get there way.
And for the BCC (Blind carbon copy) line, where no ones knows you cc’d someone else – don’t even use it. Disable it and kill it altogether.
Speak up front with respect and you’ll do more to establish a better working culture which yields far better results.
“I told you once, I’m not going to tell you again.”
“We showed him how. I don’t know why he can’t get it.”
“I don’t have time to show you. Just do this-and-this and you’ll be alright.”
What common outcome do all of these excuses for poor training have? Failure.
And it’s not failure on the employees part, it’s failure on the leader’s part to properly train their staff.
If a teaching doctor never had time to train the new intern, would it be the intern’s fault for a misdiagnosis? No, it would be the senior doctor’s failure to take the time to give the intern the necessary tools, time and resources to know their job and succeed at it.
Leadership is defined by the Business Dictionary as:
1. establishing a clear vision,
2. sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly,
3. providing the information, knowledge and methods to realize that vision, and
4. coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders.
It’s the third definition that sets up leadership as the ability to train and develop others in the organization.
Training and developing is every leader’s job, without excuse. There is only one reason not to train properly – and it’s an excuse. But there are many reasons to take the time to spend on focused and patient training of your teams.
Here are the reasons why you should train deliberately and patiently:
It’s Your Job. Training is not the onus of the recipient. It is the sole responsibility of the leader whose job it is to recruit and develop high performance people. While it can be delegated, it is always the core definition of being a leader – one who provides direction or guidance. As a leader, you are solely responsible for the resources you give your people for them to prosper in their roles. No other function of a leader is as important as training your people.
No other function of a leader is as important as training your people.
It’s Their Career. One of the consistent reasons people leave their jobs is due to either lack of advancement, failure to be shown how to do their jobs, or boredom. These all can be resolved by having a focus on talent development. Granted, people may leave if you put the time and effort to enhance their skills, That should be a good thing, because not every employee will stay forever in your organization. What your employees become due to your focus on increasing their skills will help their careers and be a boon to your company. And should they take those skills and leave, you’ll do more to impact their lives and industries outside of your own than you can ever imagine. Reginald Jones, the former CEO of General Electric, did just that when he mentored potential CEOs to be his successor upon retirement; Jack Welch became his successor, and five others left GE to become CEOs in their own right due to Reginald’s ability to develop others.
Training Positively Impacts Your Organization. Spend time training your staff, and they will do their jobs better. This makes everyone’s jobs more efficient, productive and easier. If you don’t train them, performance will lag, productivity will stagnate or tank, and you will spend more time putting out fires or managing issues. Training always benefits the organization, it’s just that simple.
Training always benefits the organization, it’s just that simple.
Training Maintains Your Culture. Studies show that training greatly enhances morale and engagement because it increases the following: collaboration, productivity, teamwork and trust. Good culture doesn’t happen by chance, they are the by product of patience and deliberate focus on investing in people. In this day of a competitive job market, a company needs to stand out as THE place to work, and how you develop your people will determine if you can attract top talent that fits and perpetuates your culture.
Training Reveals Your Ability To Lead. Would you have any confidence in a personal trainer who wasn’t able to help people get fit or lose weight? Or a school teacher who wasn’t able to teach math or science? Your opinion of those people in their roles would be quite poor. So would your reputation to lead if you could not, or would not, take time to develop your people. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to train others, then there’s no better time to start than right now. Let others know that you’re learning as well. Many leaders, teachers and trainers will tell you that they learn more than their students because training reinforces the skills they need themselves to teach and to lead.
Training reinforces the skills that leaders themselves need to teach and to lead.
Training Takes Time. No one became great at riding their bicycle the first time the training wheels were taken off. Kid’s just learning to swim are not ready to dive off the deep end of the pool as soon as they feel comfortable in the water. It takes a good deal of preparation to obtain a running pace and stamina to run a 5K race. And a triathlon takes many months and years or hard work just to be able to complete the course without regard to how well one places. Good training requires patience on the leaders behalf. Everyone learns at varying paces, and this requires time and tolerance. And mastery of a skill requires repetition which only comes with the time and allowance a leader gives it.
Training Shows You Care. If anything shows your people that you are there to serve them and put their needs above your own, it’s your devotion to sustained training. Because a good development program is an investment of time and resources, many times your own, you reveal to your employees how authentic a leader you are towards what you value. People that have leaders that develop them are more committed and trusting to those leaders. It’s a trust factor that pays enormous dividends over time.
An organization is only as good as it’s weakest person or team. The ability of those individuals or teams to perform is only as good as the training they’ve been given. And the effective outcome of the training provided is only as good as the framework, time and emphasis that a leader puts into it.
Don’t create excuses or shortchange the development of your people. Making development a priority always reaps benefits when done deliberately with patience.