Picture the scene: you’ve had some time to devise a brilliant new strategy and you’re excited. Your plan will help your business to grow and keep you ahead of the competition. You gather your employees around you to tell them about it and it bombs. Was it a bad plan? Probably not. So what went wrong?
If you’re a decision maker it’s likely that you’ve reached that position by having, or developing, some specific qualities. Broadly speaking, you don’t get anywhere near the top if you’re unable to see the world in widescreen. While some of your employees will share that attribute, there’s a vulnerability to being an employee that means they are more likely to focus on detail. Where do they fit into the new plan? Is their job at risk? How will the day to day reality of their work change?
Your job is simple. You just have to emulate the communication skills of the world’s greatest leaders. Easy, right? Here’s how you do it.
Share your strategy story
People relate to each other best when they communicate on a personal level. If you’re ‘the boss’, particularly if you’re in a corporate structure where you don’t have regular interaction with individual employees, they may view you as remote and scary. Describe the process you went through to reach your decision, the things you weren’t sure about and which bits get you excited. That way they view you as a human being who’ll understand them and not someone who’s trying to do them out of a job.
Watch your language
Be friendly. Remember, you’re scary and if your language is harsh it won’t help.
The worst kind of communication guides will tell you how to demonstrate to people that you’re listening to them. You don’t need any of that if you actually listen. It makes people feel valued and you never know, you might learn something. Especially if they’re talking about something they do every day and that needs to fit into your new strategy.
Leave an impression
Whether you’re exuberant or stoic, communicate in a way that expresses your personality. Your speech will be more engaging and you’ll be remembered.
Keep an open mind
Your business goals are fixed but your methods shouldn’t be. When you’re giving an overview to people who are involved in the nuts and bolts work every day they will give feedback whether you want it or not. If you take it on board you could find that they’ve shared some real gems that could improve on the plan that you already have.
You might think that all this is obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t do it. Keep the dialogue open and you’ll be the kind of leader that gets the best out of their staff.
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How to have a better conversation: highly recommended!
Celeste Headlee’s TED talk – 10 ways to have a better conversation