Communication is a critical component in being an effective leader. The ability to engage staff, communicate your vision, work through the why and continually reinforce clear messages and concepts that link back to the big picture. It becomes more critical the higher you go in an organisation as your ability to take people along for the journey becomes the focus of your role at a senior leadership level.
What holds us back as leaders from being an effective communicator is often our work background and history. We get rewarded with a promotion from being a team member to a team leader and manager. We are very happy with the opportunity to step up but don’t necessary shift our approach to more communication and less task! Given that we have in the past been rewarded for delivering tasks, outcomes and projects, we naturally assume that this needs to be where we focus our effort with others in our team that we now manage. That is, how are we going with delivering on that project, key task or activity is normally what our communication centres around. We spend very little time with our staff focussed on getting aligned on expectations, asking great questions and working through the why and the how rather than the what.
This is very relevant for highly technical people that have been promoted to management roles. The technical expertise often means that they struggle with working people through a journey, talking through their expectations or coaching others through good communication through a challenge they may be having in areas such as a key process, project or outcome. This is further amplified when highly technical people under stress revert to type which is normally a task orientated approach to leadership and communication. That is, let’s get it done, communicate via email and focus on what we need to do. Let’s also deal with the urgent as I don’t have time to communicate!
As our regular blog followers would know, we work closely with our clients utilising the Human Synergistics circumplex.
We recently did a session in our team that focussed on communicating the right way in leadership roles. The aha moment that came out of this workshop was that in order to communicate effectively when utilising the circumplex constructive styles, you need to work the constructive styles in an anti-clockwise manner. That is, start from the affiliative style and work your way anticlockwise through to achievement. We mapped our key points in each of the styles that you can use as prompts to ensure you work people through this journey to deliver outstanding outcomes.
The output of the session we held is documented here: Human Synergistics – Guidelines for Communication
I hope it is as useful for you as it is for us. It reminds us all that we need to always focus on the relationship, communicate the key expectations, and highlight the gaps and the vision before we look at what we need to do in the task area! I look forward to hearing your stories on how it has helped you transform your communication in the most constructive manner!