I recently shared some thoughts about communication. You can read that article here. I’ve been helped in this area by the books of Patrick Lencioni, specifically The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Death by Meeting, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job and The Advantage. Here are a few additional thoughts about the important subject of communication.
- Be direct in your communications. Don’t be so vague that your message doesn’t come through. Have you ever had a meeting with someone and when the meeting was over you didn’t know if you had just received some constructive criticism or not because the message was so vague? That could be a result of a lack of leadership courage from the person delivering the message. Sometimes people soften up their message because they are afraid to deliver the much-needed message. However, that can lead to the message being completely ineffective. Do you have that problem at times? You need to be direct so that your communication is effective. Be prepared, stick to the facts, make good eye contact and confidently deliver the message you need to communicate.
- Confirm decisions at the end of meetings. Patrick Lencioni has stated that meetings are critical to an organization because it is where leaders spend approximately 25% of their time. But have you ever left a long meeting not knowing exactly what had been decided in the meeting? By then, you may just be glad that the meeting is over with. That’s why he recommends that at the end of every meeting, a team should explicitly review the key decisions made and agree on what needs to be communicated and to whom. Is this something that you do as well? Another thought is to list the decisions made and actions expected in the meeting minutes.
- A lack of communication. Have you ever been part of a team, but found yourself left out of the communications, either intentionally or unintentionally? It doesn’t feel good. I’ve run into that myself recently. You have to take the initiative and bring this to the attention of the person in charge if you expect anything to change, and then hold the person accountable if you find that you are not receiving the appropriate information. Have you ever run into that situation? If so, how did you handle it?
- Frequent communication. In Lencioni’s book The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, he introduces us to the concept of anonymity. It is a concept that has stuck with me since I first read the book several years ago. He tells us that people cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known, and that people who see themselves as invisible, generic or anonymous cannot love their jobs, no matter what they are doing. You need to know your team members as people, not just as a member of your team. I wrote about this in my article “5 Ways to Know Your Team Members Better, which you can read here. The way you get to know your team members is to communicate with them. If you don’t communicate with them on a frequent basis they will wonder if you even care about them. A good leader cares about his team members, about who they are, and not just what they can do for the organization. How do you assure through frequent communications that anonymity is not a problem in your organization?
Again, I can’t over emphasize the importance of good communications in every facet of life. I’ve now shared eight thoughts on communications with you. What additional thoughts do you have on the subject of effective communications?