In the second of this two-part blog post, we continue to share top tips for those of you in leadership roles who are looking to communicate more effectively with your team. In our previous post, we looked at how clarity and confidence can have an enormous impact on how you communicate with your team. Here, we share the final three tips, which deal with how structure and preparation will ensure you get your message across.
3. The Sh*t Sandwich
When giving feedback to someone, don’t rattle off with everything negative you have ever thought about them and tag a few on for good measure. A single point of feedback or constructive criticism, or at most three or four, will be much more effective than a long list. Also make sure that the points are prepared. And clichéd or not, it will help to begin with something positive, and end with an affirmation. By beginning with something positive you are taking the receiver off the back foot and essentially saying you are aware of the good in them, and you are not just keen to criticise for the sake of it. By ending with an affirmative, which could be simply an empowering statement, you are leaving them with a good taste in their mouth, and at that point when they will be at their most vulnerable, you are giving them something to hold onto. You need to find the right thing to suit the situation – it could be as simple as telling them you have their back – or they have your full support.
4. Drive With a Map
A general tip is to set clear objectives. It’s basic psychology, but if people know what they are aiming at, they are much more likely to get there. It’s the difference between driving to Scotland without a map and a specific destination versus having a proper address and a sat nav. So, when you are giving instructions to your team, making a request or summing up a regular meeting or outlining a project, make sure that everyone is clear on the overall objectives – what does a good outcome look like, and what are their specific objectives? The more you can make this measurable, the better the outcome.
5. Remember that being a great leader is different to being a friend.
Don’t try to be nice, don’t try to be everyone’s friend: being a great leader is not about everyone liking you, it is about your team respecting you, believing you can do the job and trusting you to take them in the right direction. This means that at times you may need to be tough and put your foot down; call out behavior that isn’t working for you or for the team; and give clear deadlines and objectives. This isn’t ever about raising your voice or being rude, authority isn’t that, but it is someone who is clear in their opinons and able to drive people forward in a direction. It is also someone who can admit when they are not sure, and bring out the best in other people at this time through good management and listening. A good leader knows when to listen and encourage input and when to take over and guide the way.
There is so much to the art of leadership, more than can be covered in two short blog posts. But, if you follow the 5 tips we have laid out here, you’ll have started on the path to effective communication in the work place. For more top tips on communicating and effective leadership in the workplace, then be sure to download our free eBook.