‘Productive Communication will enhance Business Results’
The ability to effectively communicate, and avoid miscommunications, is a key competency for leadership. We know from recent research and studies that productive communications can positively impact engagement, and the reality in the majority of organizations is that effective and productive communications do not happen often enough.
Having intentional and purposeful communications with the right people at the right time with the right content and context, consistently over time, can truly shift an organization’s culture and improve employee engagement. We know that the responsibility lies with all employees, yet most importantly, it must begin with leaders. Studies over time have validated that the number one reason people do not communicate well is due to fear of sharing what they are really thinking or feeling, and these feelings or thoughts not being heard or listened to. Interestingly, those same individuals are most likely inclined to demonstrate self-serving bias, shaming, blaming and dysfunctional communication habits.
Moving beyond our communication fears, we open ourselves to discovering and learning key communication competencies and skills necessary to having effective and productive conversations and empowering ourselves with courage, humility and discipline to maximize communication competencies that create better relationships, resulting in higher levels of trust, and communications that align to vision, values and priorities. The organization benefits include clear vision, high-performing teams, an increase in employee engagement and productivity, effective collaboration and innovation and increased profitability. When people remove the distortion, they open themselves up to utilizing key communication tactics and skills, experiencing meaningful and productive conversations.
By improving communication competencies and skills, a leader can buy back time for aligning and delegating priorities and will be better prepared to encourage and support their people for maximizing a culture of excellence and achieving business results and success. Let’s look at 11 ideas for avoiding miscommunication:
1. Commit to assessing and developing everyone’s communication intelligence.
2. Invest in communication intelligence assessment and development for your leadership team, employees and self.
3. Develop and engage leaders in a communication intelligence committee that will ensure communication effectiveness and sustainability.
4. Evaluate organizational communication intelligence methods, technology, systems and processes. Commit to improvement and innovative solutions that align with the organization’s goals and vision.
5. Develop a communication strategy. Update any governance or policies that support your strategy. Create a trusting and safe environment to allow employees to share their thoughts, opinions and perspectives.
6. Communicate your communication strategy.
7. Honor and enforce your communication strategy. Catch your employees communicating well and celebrate the behavior to support the change. Create a culture shift through positive and ongoing reinforcement and accountability.
8. Repeatedly consider the nature of each of your own communications. Be mindful and intentional about the who, what, when, where, why and how the communication will be clarified, shared, measured, celebrated and mitigated.
9. Ask questions to identify the miscommunication. Design a follow-up communication to address any untruths and help them realign to the vision, values and goals of the organization, supporting a culture of trust. Affirm the importance of transparency and authenticity in communication. Be sure to restate the organization’s mission, vision and values. Thank employees for their continued commitment to upholding the organization’s culture of trust.
10. Provide coaching and guidance for feedback and “feedforward” to employees for situations, such as inappropriate language or behaviors, bullying or making others
uncomfortable or situations in which employees are disengaged.
11. Try to assume positive intent. When in doubt, ask questions to gain clarification. Be open and supportive to input or ideas. Create momentum and inspire others to do the same.
Creating and delivering on a vision; developing a strategy that is intentional, focused and purposeful; nurturing a culture to execute the vision; aligning the values and systems; designing processes for efficiency and influencing people — all to realize excellence in operations, engagement, performance, productivity, profitability and organizational health — these are all valid reasons communication is a critical competency for leaders.