Have you ever had an important conversation on your mobile phone with a bad connection - a weak signal? There’s gaps in mid-sentence, static, all sorts of distortions, and that annoying dropped call. I’m sure it’s happened to all of us. A weak signal produces poor communication which will lead to a disconnect between both parties. Poor communication is a waste of time. If we’re not connecting we’re not communicating, and if we’re not communicating we’re accomplishing nothing. “The art of communication is the language of leadership” James Humes I doubt that any good leader would disagree with me when I say; clear communication in the workplace is foundational to running a successful organization. Communicating clearly allows workers to move forward with a definite purpose and clear direction. They’re provided with all the necessary information to successfully accomplish their objectives. It’s amazingly simple, yet I think you’ll agree we’ve all “dropped the call” a time or two in this area. Miscommunication is frustrating to deal with on a regular basis. It confuses those on your team, has a direct effect on morale, confidence in leadership, and of course productivity. In fact, it is a contributing factor in employee turnover. There’s a study by Watson Wyatt stating that more than half the organizations which communicated effectively, were more likely to report below average levels of employee turnover, compared with a little more than 1/3 for those who communicated less effectively.(1) Think of the monetary savings! “Good words are worth much, and cost little” - George Herbert Statistics show that breakdown in communication and trust are two of the biggest barriers to long-term success. When communication is not clear and trust is not present, frustration is inevitable. Imagine an environment where your employees, management team, clients, vendors, key stakeholders and family members were all moving in the same direction. If this was the case, what is possible for your organization and family? (2) “When people possess the ability to connect, it makes a huge difference in what they can accomplish.” – John C Maxwell Never underestimate the power of good communication and connecting on a deeper level with your people. Try these seven practices to improve your communication. 1. Understand Your "Why" Why do you need to communicate to the people you’re meeting with? What do you want to accomplish?" 2. Make it Clear, Keep it Simple Sometimes less is more. We’re living in an age of information overload, so think through your message and be as concise as you can. 3. To Connect Use Your Ears Learn how to receive (from your people) before you give. When you understand where your people are coming from you can empathize. You connect when you speak from that place of empathy, and your words will resonate. 4. Connect Emotionally Speak with your team in person as often as possible, to connect with them relationally. Keep it positive, say what you’re feeling, and above all feel what you’re saying. 5. Make Them Feel Their Importance It really is true that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. There’s something validating about a leader giving you their undivided attention. On occasion get together socially with your team. 6. Follow Up Regularly Follow up on assignments, requests, and get their feedback. Also follow up after a social gathering. Ask them how they enjoyed the time together, and ask for ideas. 7. Say Thank You Recognize positive contributions, both privately and publicly. Honest recognition goes a long way in building strong lines of communication.
"Connecting Organizational Communication to Financial Performance – 2003/2004 Communication ROI Study" (2003). Watson Wyatt & Company, 3 November 2003
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*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***