CEO Rule: “No Communication IS Communication.”
As leaders and managers we spend 90% of our time dealing with “doing the do” in the business: making sales, improving production, managing budgets, H/R, you name it, we do it. So, it’s no wonder that our communication tends to be focused on the daily minutia that seems to drive performance. We give direction, answer questions, deal with problems, encourage or discipline our people, deal with problems, deal with people, IT, and so on and so on. I know that for most employees, this gets boring, tedious, monotonous, and downright depressing at times. So why are we surprised when our employees seem to have lackluster enthusiasm and under perform in their duties and responsibilities? Have you ever thought that we, as leaders, may be responsible for much of this lack of performance? What we don’t realize is that we are really not communicating at all. We are directing, commanding, controlling, and sometimes we are just demanding curtain behaviors from those around us. This is not true communication. Real communication goes to and from the all parties involved. If the communication is only going out, the communication is incomplete. Leaders must take responsibility to insure that the lines of communication are open both ways. People often think, “No news is good news”; my philosophy is “No News, bad news.” Here are some good communication habits.
Mike’s Top Ten to do’s:
- Keep good eye contact when communicating
- Watch your body language to insure good open posture
- Have an agenda and keep to it
- Don’t allow yourself to get side tracked
- Let the other person express their thoughts and acknowledge them
- Keep your discussions to 15-20 minutes if possible
- Always ask the party to repeat what they have heard
- Clarify any misunderstandings quickly
- Always reaffirm the message
- Listen, listen, listen
Take an assessment. What methods do you currently use to communicate with your executives, managers and employees? The most common mistake is to think our people are getting all the information we are putting out. Use the top ten communication techniques above to enhance all communications. Many bosses rely heavily on email to communicate with their people. Your people get dozens of e-mails every day. It’s very difficult to filter through the dozens of e-mails that comes into our inboxes every day. In all important communications I recommend a personal touch. A quick phone call, or personal visit to their office works wonders. Spend time with you people, review the information, discuss the purpose, and desired timelines and outcomes. Talk about the challenges they face, and possible solutions. Don’t just expect your people to get it; remember, communication goes two ways.