I haven’t ever been a corporate leader. And I know, that’s a little surprising for a coach who spends most of her time talking and writing about being a leader.
So, if you chose to read no further, I understand. It’s pitiful. I know.
But what I lack in pedigree and fancy letters after my name, I’ve compensated for with a lot of observations, conversations with professionals, and good old-fashioned trial-and-error. A little over 15 years of it. One of the things I’ve learned is that being an effective leader requires strong communication with those you work with. If you can nail that part of the leadership job, the rest comes much easier.
A daunting task for sure — especially as your business grows, travel increases and train wrecks are piling up. So, here are my three top tips to help you grease that two-way road to trust-filled communications with your employees.
Stop: Put It On Ice
You don’t need to react so quickly to every situation. Slow down and think. Erupting like Mt. Vesuvius, spewing words and emotions, doesn’t work. It’s scary and models inappropriate behavior.
Give yourself a little time to think. A minute. Five. You might need to wait several hours or even a day.
The key is to plant the seed with your employee’s that the topic is “open” and that you’re going to revisit it with them after the two of you have a chance to mutually think about it.
We human’s desperately want respect. Even when we don’t show it towards each other. Employee’s want to be heard.
Challenge: 30-Second Rule
And when you feel the urge to lecture, limit it to 30 seconds.
Employee’s hate lectures. I bet you do, too. If you can’t get 95 percent of your point made in 30 seconds, then you need to think through your message.
Start with 30 seconds. It works.
Choose: To Stop Solving Everything
This one takes years to figure out. It’s one that is really hard for leaders to get good at because you love fixing and solving things.
I’m talking about those times in life when your employees are mad, upset, hurt, frustrated, or angry over a host of things. Mean clients. Unfair deadlines. Tough decisions. Annoying co-workers. The list is miles long. Any time a leader hears a problem de jour they default with strategies for fixing it and make it go away.
“Here’s what you need to do -”
“Next time the client tells you blah, blah, blah, you should -”
“Well, you should never let your co-workers tell you -”
And you know what? Employees don’t always want you to tell them what to do. They don’t always need you to strategize. They’re also far more resilient and capable than you give them credit for.
A lot of times, they just want you to be in the zone with them. Empathize. Go deep. Be in the moment.
I’m convinced that this type of leadership sends a far more important message than trying to give an assortment of ideas to fix the specific problem
So there you have it. My top three tips. And just in case you’re thinking, “Taking the easy road, huh?” the truth is all three of these ideas require you to stop, challenge and really choose what your employee needs. They require conscious leadership.