May 01 2010

LEADERSHIP INTENTIONS?

“I meant to tell y’all

                                   

 this sooner, but…”

 

     We all know where the road that’s paved with good intentions leads, but how often do we ignore the consequence of that destination when it comes to communication and leadership decision making?

     And contrary to current popular Presidential acclaim, effective and meaningful communication goes light years beyond being a dramatic orator. Orators are not leaders. They are merely one form of manager who dwells more on talking about intent than on getting things done.

     When what we mean to do is consistently not what ends up getting done, something is wrong. Either the equipment, systems, or personnel are not performing as expected or — more likely than not — we are doing a lousy job of leadership communicating.

     This is not to suggest that maintaining a productive communications balance is necessarily an easy task, but reality is that we only ever communicate too little, too much, or just enough . . . and too soon, too late, or right on time. The goal obviously needs to be to communicate just enough at the right time to ensure that the task at hand gets done the right way and on schedule.

     What’s the best way to determine the extent to which our communications are sufficient or insufficient, whether they are delivered in a timely enough fashion to minimize stress and maximize productivity? Ask. Too many people in leadership positions choose to feel they are somehow emasculated (effeminated?) by having to ask “underlings” for their judgements.

    “How’re we doing here?” is all it takes. Just by asking, and preferably in the middle of a statement, meeting, phone conversation, presentation, paragraph, webinar, seminar, or workshop, our how goes it check-ups give us useful opportunities to adjust our messages and/or pace in midstream, and usher in more productive action. 

     Even better: “What three things can I do to do a better job of communicating?” What makes this second question better? It asks for specific feedback, which is always more useful information to apply.

     Best of all steps for us to take, besides taking our communications pulse frequently, is to simply be thinking more about it every day. What does that take? I’ve know top business leaders who pasted “Communicate the right amount at the right time!” reminder signs over their desks, and smaller ones on their keyboards or edge of their monitors, on their phones, even their wristwatches. 

     When a business leader loses touch with being an effective communicator, she or he also loses touch with being an effective motivator. When that happens, people start looking for jobs elsewhere, and sales plummet.

     Those are pretty dire consequences compared to how simple it is to make a conscious choice to be a better leader by being more tuned-in to how and when we come across to others.

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! God Bless America, and God Bless our troops because “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day! 

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