Clear, concise and relevant communications can make your job much easier and you will attain better results from the team as a whole.
The bottom line is that when: a) the objective is understood; b) the means to achieve it is clarified; and c) the form of measurement comprehended, less time and energy is spent mired in misunderstanding.
Of course, the main prerequisite for excellent communications is to listen, really listen. But there are other, basic components to the art of communication. However simply these basics can be stated, they do require your effort and concentration for them to be implemented successfully:
• Simplicity. Don’t weigh your directions or responses down with excess detail. Inevitably, your listener will lose interest early on or become confused by the glut of information. If, after your input, the other person needs to know more, they can always ask. Remember the old adage: If someone asks you the time, don’t tell them how to make a watch.
• Brevity. Just as a welter of detail can turn a listener off, so can a long-winded “story” or explanation. The other person will become impatient to get to the point and, therefore, tune out your historical account.
• Precision. Yes, you may want to convey the fact that there are opposing factors to consider, but don’t let this lead you into contributing vague and useless answers. Be precise about the relative importance of the different elements, and if you don’t know the answer, admit it and then find out later.
• Objectivity. Don’t get personal in your comments and don’t react personally to what you hear. Your role as leader is a professional one, tempered with sensitivity and executed without bias.
• Attitude. Your goal is to communicate clearly. You should not be trying to impress anyone with your superior knowledge or compete with them. Remember that each person reacts differently to advice or direction and tailor your delivery to be best understood. The aim here is not for you to look good, but for your people to achieve the results that inevitably do make you look good.
The best leaders are expert communicators. They know how to convey a message across the shortest distance possible and see it actualized by the team. Maybe it’s time to put your communication skills through a refresher course?