Communication is the real work of leadership. Strong communication is necessary to strong leadership. Time after time articles state the importance of communication. But, does communication mean one-way communication?
If you pay attention to politicians in a race, you hear them state the same points over and over again. Successful politicians make their message clear and easy to understand. They want to make sure that voters understand their message.
We make available a service called HR360 to our valued business associates. Part of that service is a podcast called HR over Coffee. It is a brief but powerful 10 minute discussion of various employee management topics. A recent podcast talked about the power of two-way communication. Below is a summary of that podcast. If you wish to try the service, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and write HR360 in the subject line. We will make it available for one year at no obligation.
Listed below are five steps to communication as outlined in the HR Over Coffee podcast from HR360:
- Remember that you are always communicating. You are constantly communicating your brand to employees through your firm’s work environment and through your culture. Your brand is the way you treat customers and employees. Your brand is what people say about you and your firm when you aren’t in the room. Treat people poorly and the one offended will tell 20 other people.
- Feedback to your associates should be regular and ongoing. Nobody likes to be ambushed at review time. Give your employees both positive and negative feedback as close to the applicable behavior as possible. Then give your employees the resources they need to address deficiencies and grow in their job
- Pay attention to the language that you use. Be sensitive to the words you use – e.g. you didn’t do this properly versus I would have liked to see it done this way. Use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Use the sandwich method e.g. I like the way you did that project but the next time I would like to see it done this way
- Practice active listening. Do not be judgmental and don’t interrupt. Make eye contact. Re-state your understanding of what your associates are saying. Have an open door policy. Conduct formal surveys that solicit employee opinions and communicate answers or changes as a result of their feedback. Don’t be texting or reading emails while you are in a meeting with someone.
- Be clear, correct and consistent in your communication. Use simple easy to understand terms and use good grammar and check for spelling errors. Get your communications proof read by someone else before issuance. Make sure any communications are consistent with statements in your policy manual. And, statements in the manual should be consistent on your intranet and in memos. Remember to update your employee manual frequently,