More Resources to Support Your 'Rockstar' Leadership Career
Are you a high-expectations leader, who gets frustrated by people around you turning up but not switching on?
One of the barriers to effective communication, over which you have total control is personal contact!
Are You Guilty of Hiding Behind Technology?
In today's era of electronic communication, people frequently use email, text, and instant messaging as a substitute for face-to-face contact (and face-to-face can be online - but it needs to be real people talking to each other!)
You wouldn't try to close a deal with a major customer via email. Yet, people have been known to attempt to handle sensitive or delicate issues, (for example, make significant organizational changes), by sending out an email. Then they wonder why their people are angry, and frustrated and the organization is in chaos.
One example is the sacking of 800 employees via a 3-minute pre-recorded Zoom video by P&O Ferries in the UK. The fallout of this strikingly poor piece of leadership will reverberate against this company for years to come. The backlash was swift and smart as appalled people - from politicians, to customers - have declared their disgust at P&O.
Regular Face-to-Face Contact Builds Rapport and Trust
You can't lead if you don't know your people. You need to know their hopes, beliefs, personality and how they react to decisions that impact them. Most communication barriers in organizations are stripped away when you know your people. When you have taken the time to build rapport and trust. With this in mind, you build real rapport and trust when people can see your face.
Much of our communication cues comes from facial expressions and tone of voice. Electronic mediums just don't convey these.
Despite this, some still prefer to send an email, or an instant message, to people who are only a few steps away.
In today's cut down organizations, leaders are exceptionally busy with heavy workloads. Nonetheless, please don't use that as an excuse. It is critical to remember that you are in a leadership position, and part of your moral imperative is to bring out the best in your people.
The most important thing you can do
is to be accessible,
regularly meet with,
and talk to your people.
Get off your computer, and walk down the hallway - (and if you are working remotely, set up an online meeting just to 'chew the fat'. Connect with, and be a part of your team.
Then when it comes time to make substantial changes, or implement a new idea, people will be willing to go with you. This is because you have built trust. It becomes payback time... in the nicest possible way.
There is a place for all communication channels, electronic and real-life contact. Recognize that electronic should support, not replace face-to-face communication.
When you choose your communication medium wisely, you give yourself the best shot at improving the performance, and engagement, of your people.
To sum up, when you take the time to get up and talk to your people, you'll eliminate one of the biggest barriers to effective communication.
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