Do you communicate to win, or to lose?
Successful leaders communicate to win. Business is a team sport, and the success of the team and its leaders depends on communication. Top management expects results, and results depend on communication.
Communication is more than words; communication is reaching understanding. And the most effective communication both reaches understanding and builds connection.
Building effective communications:
So what are the keys to effective communication? How can you be heard, get results, and build connections? How can you communicate to create a win-win-win for your organization, your staff, peers and leaders, and yourself? Start with the following five tips, and see where you stand.
- Listen first. Let the other person speak up. Let them express their frustrations, or concerns, or interests, or enthusiasm. When someone is emotional, they are not in a position to listen. Let them speak their mind, while you listen for key elements. What is the real issue and what do they want or need? Why? What will satisfy them, or, more importantly, what will delight them? The longer they talk, the more time you have to gather information and process it.
- Ask questions. Get details. If someone complains that something “never happens” pin things down. Does a request seems impossible? Find a creative way to meet the core need. The most outrageous demands and complaints can sometimes be resolved, once you understand the core issue.
- Ask more questions. When you do speak, explore. Before making a declaration, test the waters. “Would it help if…” “Could we….” “What if we ….” are all ways to find a response which has the highest likelihood of producing a win-win.
- Be inclusive. Phrases like “Let’s….” “Why don’t we….” “Why don’t you….and I’ll….” acknowledge that you are also vested in the issue and the outcome.
- Set expectations. Set deadlines and future actions or consequences. “If you can’t have this done by Tuesday, tell me so we can re-evaluate.” Or “If I see that this plan isn’t working, I’ll let you know immediately.”
Communicate to build bridges, not empires. Cultivate strong, positive, mutually supportive relationships. Arrogant, demanding, defiant, confrontational and threatening approaches might get the job done, but bridges burned might never be regained. Communication can help you beat the competition and succeed in a multi-generational workforce. Listen first, and have the best chance of being truly heard. Be engaged. Communicate to win. Get results and create sustainable growth for yourself and your organization.