Let me give you a typical example of a new leader who had just entered the super highway aka team leadership. I’m going to call her Rhoda.
Rhoda was very smart, determined, hard-working, and very capable of the leadership position she’d recently acquired. Here was her problem: she focused on her own projects in a vacuum (to extend the analogy here, she was driving but only looking straight ahead). She was used to being a “do-er” and not a leader; and so, she became overwhelmed with doing everything (too much traffic!). She didn’t communicate project needs and team roles so she didn’t get the important results. She felt over-worked and her employees felt disempowered. The car was running out of gas and other cars were passing on both sides.
Time after time in my coaching engagements with clients, the missing ingredient in their execution of responsibilities is effective communication. This is especially common among new leaders.
A good leader is focused on planning and execution of tasks and outcomes to move the team toward the goal. These leaders possess a keen insight into the larger picture and the reasons behind the rationale for specific tasks. However, all too frequently this information doesn’t reach the players within the team – the very individuals responsible for accomplishing the tactical components of the project. It is critical that the leader explain to the employees executing the tasks exactly how their role contributes to the overall success.
If your team is not doing what you require of them, you need to assess yourself in order to determine the cause of the shortfall.
Here are three tips to help you understand how to better communicate with your team members to complete successful projects and create a powerful work environment:
- Instead of blaming others for not comprehending the big picture, you must find a way to more effectively communicate your message in words which are clear and easy to understand. That is what leaders do – they lead from the front and communicate back to the team in easily understandable terms. This enables the team to see why they are doing what it is that they are directed to do.
- Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. You may think you’re being repetitive when you are conveying the steps of a project or the order of changes that may be coming down the line, but you’re not. People learn in different ways so you need to communicate expectations in different ways and often.
- Establish an agreed upon communications process. Let them know how you want to communicate, get their feedback – how do they like to communicate? And alter your style as necessary to meet the communication needs of the team.
What communications tools has your team found empowering? And let me know if you’d like to talk about the leadership super highway.