Company leaders must become better communicators
Fast Company recently published an article stressing the need for honest dialog and transparent leadership from the top down. In times of volatility or ambiguity, people want to hear from the person in charge. As a company leader, you need to be able to speak to employees in relatable ways. A thought piece in the New York Times addresses stress in the workplace, pointing out that research suggests employees are feeling anxious and vulnerable. Leaders who embrace their own vulnerability provide a means for worried employees to engage with them in meaningful dialog. Vulnerability, even in leadership, isn’t weakness but an empowering connection opportunity.
To discover new ways to engage employees, check out our course on Leadership and Influence.
Employees also expect honest and transparent communication. When having important conversations, it’s critical to stay focused and on task. A strategic approach to deliberate communication is the STAR methodology.
Situation: Describe the situation to your employees in clear terms, outlining Who, What, Where, and When.
Example: On Wednesday I met with our heads of HR and Finance in my office.
Task: What was the task?
Example: We met to discuss our remote work policy moving forward.
Action: State the precise action taken and where you go from here.
Example: We looked at the number of people working full-time remote, those in the office, and those working a hybrid. We looked at our revenue and productivity over the last sixteen quarters as a basis of comparison.
Result: Clearly state the outcome.
Example: We decided to extend our current work model into Q2 next year. We will revisit our decision after the quarterly meeting.
This is merely to get the ball rolling and ensure what’s being communicated is done thoughtfully. The more valuable the content of the communication, the more likely employees will listen and be engaged. Once the conversation begins, much of what a business leader must do is fall back on the good listening practices we outlined earlier.
Communication strategies are shifting to meet the new challenges of the day. Becoming an effective communicator relies upon your ability to listen, your ability to feel empathy, and your awareness of the nuances of communication. Mastering these will give you the leadership ability you need for challenging times.
This is one of our executive briefings taken from our series of professional online business short courses from ELL. We have over 150 courses online with over 1,000 hours of e-learning covering a wide range of topics across leadership, management and personal & professional development created by industry experts and learning professionals.