Communication in the Workplace: Desperately Seeking Leaders Who Communicate

20140501-Communication skills in the workplaceEffective communication in the workplace is a skill that a lot of leaders haven’t caught on to…yet.

Why is it that the focus of leaders is on strategic plans, competitive tactics, financial statements and answering to shareholders? While clearly, these aspects are vital to achieving profit, all the tactical brilliance of the C-suite boils down to nothing if they can’t communicate to people, inside or outside the company.

Communication in the workplace and leaders who do it brilliantly impart a competitive edge, more than brilliant marketing strategies, extraordinary products or even skillful planning.

Why is it so important for leaders to have effective communication in the workplace?

Without strong communication, you cannot build high trust relationships. High trust relationships are fundamental to a) employee retention; b) productivity and performance; c) customer service, and d) increasing sales—to virtually every aspect of the business. Trust, through effective communication, is the cornerstone of a successful business.

So how can communication in the workplace be more effective?

  1. Tell people what you are going to do, and then do it. Don’t vacillate and don’t make up a bunch of excuses to explain why you can’t or didn’t do something.
  2. Communicate often and openly, and request the same from others. Communication is about sharing the good news and the bad news. It’s about sharing what’s in your heart, not what you ‘think’ they want to hear.
  3. Set clear expectations and standards for behavior. Tell people the rules, standards, and ethics by which to operate and then follow them yourself. If you decide to change them, that’s okay, but you have to communicate that and let people know your thought process for making the change.
  4. Hold people accountable for the commitments they’ve made. When people fall down on their commitments, and they will, remind them of their commitment and let them know how you feel. Being pissed off, ignoring it or assuming ‘it is what it is’ won’t correct it.
  5. Care deeply about people. Communication in the workplace means taking the time to listen to people—your employees, customers and even your vendors. Care about who they are, what’s important to them and how they think. If you see people as simply another disposable but necessary resource (like a computer) but not as essential to your company, you can be sure they pick up on exactly that.

Being connected to people, truly caring about them and being accountable for your own actions and communication will provide a strong foundation for company growth and development. Leadership can have a heart – and they can communicate it. Indeed, the success and productivity of your organization depend on it.

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