Monday, May 7, 2018

Why Leaders Need to Over-Communicate

We have all seen it. A manager that stands up at a meeting and talks...and talks....and talks. And even worse, they never let anyone else express their ideas or feelings. A big part of effective leadership is understanding how the employees feel about a situation. Taking the time to stop and get a sense of how your employees are feeling is a leadership skill that you will have to master to really have good communication skills.

Not everyone comes to work with the same needs, goals, skills, background, or level of experience. So why do we think that using the same message for everyone is good communication? Different employees need to hear the information in different ways. When you send the identical e-mail to marketing, sales, security, and maintenance; it will be understood differently by each department. Maybe by each person.

When I work with leaders, most of them are actually worried about over-communicating. The truth is you can't over-communicate. It's impossible. As the leader, you live and breathe the organization. Most of the people around you are simply working for the organization. They will never be as clear on the issues as you are, so it's your job to over-communicate the message.

If I had to choose one leadership characteristic that is most important, I think it is the ability to communicate. Communication (the exchange of information, thought, and emotion) within an organization is important in all areas of operation from customer service to employee relationship management. Employee relationship management (ERM) is a process that organizations use to manage all interactions with employees, to help achieve organizational goals.

The productivity and morale of all of the employees from the top down within an organization depends upon the effectiveness of communication. Sure it helps to be a good talker, but being a good listener is essential for effective communication. In management, you need to be able to listen to another person's needs so that you can help them reach their goals.

There is a major difference between the act of listening and the art of hearing. Hearing is a physical act while listening is the act of hearing while also comprehending what is being said. Research tells us that managers typically listen at about 25% of their efficiency level. Our own surveys tell us that over 70% of managerial problems are the result of poor communication.

Listening requires focus, not just hearing the words. Listening means paying attention not only to the words, but how the words are being delivered, how they use their body to speak their message. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non verbal messages. Good listening is listening not only to what is being said, but also to what is not being said.

10 Powerful Listening Tips

1. Take notes

2. Wait for person to finish speaking before you comment

3. Avoid outside distractions

4. Be present, not lost in your own thoughts

5. Be mindful of your own reactions

6. Create a checklist of listening habits you want to change

7. Keep the focus on them

8. Ask them to expand on their feelings

9. Ask clarifying questions

10. Talk less, listen more