Leader Communication Means Transmit and Receive

Leader CommunicationEveryone relies on Leader Communication. Leaders are always communicating whether they realize it or not.  Staff, associates, team members and partners often know fairly accurately what to expect from a leader. What conversations to initiate, what requests will get a “yes” and the preferences of a leader are known, all through subtle communication “hints” and without saying anything directly.

Rob’s story is a classic. Rob was a new branch chief who came to me for coaching. His 360º evaluation revealed wide gaps in what he thought he was communicating and what his associates were receiving. What came to light was that Rob was intensely focused on being a successful branch chief.  The drive toward goals, mission and pursuit of profit for the organization acted as blinders for Rob.

Here are the critical Leader Communication highlights Rob missed about himself and his team members.

Rob didn’t know how serious the situation was. He was running people over and doing everything himself (especially most of the talking). His entire branch was fed up and quietly shouting to the CEO, “If you don’t fix this we will cry mutiny only once.”

Rob finally turned the receptors on “receive”and listened. He learned that all his suggestions are viewed as directives and his off the cuff comments are viewed as criticism. He also learned that his branch viewed him as a “king leader” and his nickname in the break room was “his highness.”

Rob was leading leaders. Department heads, deputies and managers but he was still heavily pushing oversight rather than providing insight.  Rob was stuck in the land of widget making. As a new leader Rob should have already made the shift from manager to leader. He needed to understand and internalize that leaders don’t make widgets. Managers and others are responsible for widgets and numbers.

Leaders influence and create outcomes. Here are three shifts that Rob made. They are sure to improve outcomes for you too

  1. Create space and allow leaders to lead. Move beyond the over managed and under led approach.  The branch chief is an enterprise leader who speaks (and listens to) the language of all functions of the branch.
  2. Hold back suggestions and comments (manage oneself) and rely on listening to team members. Let them lead, they will respond surprisingly well.
  3. Recognize that in a leadership position of Branch Chief for example, communication, influence and modeling impacts are magnified. Attitudes, approaches and beliefs spread like the common cold.  What do you want your team members to catch?

Leadership is an opportunity. You can change the direction of your branch, your organization and your individual team members. Leader Communication is the best mechanism to do that.

If you would like to improve your leader communication call Brian or see his Coaching Programs.

© Brian Braudis 2018, All rights reserved

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