How many times have you said that the reason that something didn’t work right was due to a “breakdown in communication?” Communication is one of the keys to good leadership. Here are a few thoughts:
- First, seek to understand. I heard Will Mancini say that Einstein was once asked what he would do if he found out the world would be destroyed in 60 minutes. How would he solve the problem? He said he’d take 55 minutes to understand the nature of the problem, and then he’d solve it in five minutes.
- When communicating big changes, it’s helpful to describe your thought processes, and then give relevant facts and figures. Sometimes, people need to know the WHY before they can understand the WHAT.
- Good meetings are full of discussion, from all points of view. I want to have the culture where people can say anything.
- But if you keep pushing on something, then you’ll eventually alienate the leader who shares the risk. When the decision has been made, it’s time to get on board and stop communicating your reservations. And I’ve NEVER been in a situation where an “I told you so” was helpful.
- As a leader, I can make better decisions when I get information in advance. If I’ve only got a couple of days to solve a huge problem, then that’s not good. Keeping a pulse on things, and spotting trends, is helpful to leaders.
- Ferret out the facts, and then communicate those facts clearly.
- Proverbs says that one word ahead of time is better than two words after the fact.
- Use mottos, slogans, rallying cries, and phrases. People need memorable statements, not just bland facts. This is why we said we wanted to “create contagious environments” rather than use the tired words “excellence” or “relevance.”
- Andy Stanley, a pastor in Atlanta, says that leaders can afford to sometimes be wrong, but can’t be unclear. As you end your conversation, say “so to be clear” or “so we’re on the same page here…” and then summarize what we talked about or decided.