We have been working with two leaders of an organization. They have related several problems but they all had one source. We can’t get the right people to work for us. We spent some time interviewing them as well as a sample of people in their organization. Wow, what a disconnect. They are desperately looking for success. The employees also want the organization to be successful. That is where the similarity stopped. The two partners could not convey the goals of the organization and they were not even communicating completely the upcoming projects. The staff was frustrated. One partner is totally exhausted because he feels he must do everything himself and he is afraid to hold people accountable. The other partner has no tolerance for things and thinks lots of people should just leave. The good news is that they can fix this if they change. The first step is to create positive results by being positive in their communication. Here are six suggestions on positive effective communication.
- You can accept others ideas and respect them although you do not have to agree. Acknowledge amazing requests and outrageous statements with responses such as: "That's an interesting idea."
"That's a novel request."
"What an intriguing question."
Then listen to what the other person is saying and use those questions as an opportunity for the other person to be heard. You can move to other topics afterward without arguing.
- People judge others by their actions. This means you are being judged by the perceptions you create with your words and actions. For example, if you act angry, even though you feel otherwise, you will be judged as being hostile. If you sound helpless, even though you feel otherwise, you will be judged as being ineffective. Therefore, choose actions and words that convey the impression you want to make. Practice your message before you give it.
- People judge themselves by their intentions. Acknowledge that the other person's actions or words are correct and proper (as seen by that other person). Even when someone's behavior appears completely absurd, that person most likely believes it is justified. You do not have to agree but try to put yourself in their place.
- Everyone deserves courtesy and respect. Diplomacy gains more than hostility. It is always the best way to begin a dialogue. When was the last time that you had to apologize for being courteous? When you treat others with respect, you set the standard for how you want to be treated. Remember the golden rule.
- Everyone has valuable ideas. The most innovative and successful organizations recognize that everyone is an expert in some area. We all have unique talents. Effective leaders help other people excel at expressing their ideas. They ask questions. They show interest. They make the other person a star in their conversation. It does not matter who has the idea as long as it helps you and your organization.
- Realize that you can always learn more about the other person's needs, priorities, and situation. Talk less and ask many questions. Always focus on solutions and results. Think positive. Don’t over react. Remember that quick reactions often lead to apologies. Start by being thoughtful and seeking to understand fully.
Everything said here applies to all types of communication. That includes face to face, over the phone, and, email. Think before you speak or hit that reply button. If you follow these steps you will see great improvement in the results of your organization.