Leadership through Communication

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in Featured, Individuals, Miscellaneous, Organizations, Women | 0 comments

Leadership through Communication

Leadership through Communication

Which of the following is the right thing to do?

  • Should you always tell people the truth, or only when it is expedient to do so?
  • Should you always keep people informed on their future, or should you only tell them when you think they need to know?
  • Should you keep your people in the loop, or should you keep them in the dark for as long as possible?

As a leader, your answers reveal a great deal about your attitude towards communication. You can talk all day long about the need for transparency and openness, but unless you are willing to do it, no one else will either.

To look at this another way, the people whom you seek to lead will choose to follow your example when they want to. They won’t mimic only those things that you want and ignore the rest; instead they’ll imitate those behaviors that are consistent with their values. In other words, they’ll copy the parts in you that appeal to them.

This is one reason why consistency is so important. If you can only be trusted some of the time, then you will be mistrusted all of the time. That’s because people will be unable to figure out where you are. They won’t know what your “mood” is from one minute to the next.

And if employees are having to second-guess what you’ll do next, then productivity will be affected, too. It will slow down, or even stop.

Here’s an exercise to help you understand this.

Pick something that you know concerns people in your organization. It doesn’t matter what it is. Make a note of how much time or the percentage of time you think they spend dwelling on it each week. Multiply that figure times the number of working weeks in the year, and then by the number of employees in your company.

Now get the HR folks to give you the mean value of the money paid in salaries and wages for everyone and multiply it by that big number that you reached in the last step. Chances are that you’re in the millions if not tens of millions of dollars.

While this may not be an entirely realistic cost in the loss of productivity, it does give you some idea of the extent of the problem. That’s because no one can be 100% focused on the task at hand while at the same time worrying about whether his or her boss is scrutinizing every movement or will suddenly decide that what was okay yesterday isn’t today.

The truth is that you don’t want the attention of those in your organization to be any more divided than it is already. People will come to work thinking about domestic problems. That’s life. But you don’t want to add to them by being unpredictable because you’re not trustworthy.

So how can you avoid this? How can you keep the morale high and increase momentum in your employees? It’s by trusting them.

This lies at the foundation of all relationships, and that’s what we’re talking about: building a relationship with those who you lead or want to lead. When you trust them, you’re giving them a reason to follow you. You’re saying, “I would like to spend time with you. I’m interested in you. I share your concerns. I’m confident that you’re up to the task. I want to help you.”

When you communicate that message, then people lower their defenses. They no longer work in fear that you’ll be upset with them. When they relax, they’ll become more creative, too, and that’s when productivity will really begin to increase.

Let’s going back to the questions at the beginning of this article. When you hide information because the news is bad, or because you’re afraid you won’t get the result that you want if you tell people the truth, or because you think (erroneously) that it makes you more powerful, then what you’re really saying is that “I don’t trust you.” And when that happens, you’ve taken away the most important reason why they should trust you.

You are the leader; so lead. It’s not up to your employees to trust you first and then you’ll share a bit of information here and there when it suits you. As a leader, you have to do it first. Then, when others see by your example, that you are worthy of the name, they will trust and follow you.

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