Dollars and Sense: Leaders must be good communicators

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Successful leaders know that effective communication processes must be alive and well in an organization if business objectives are to be consistently achieved. Too often, leaders think they are communicating well and are then frequently surprised to learn that their employees don’t agree. Unfortunately, employee surveys very often confirm that meaningful communication isn&8217;t happening on a consistent basis.

Communicating skillfully is an area that even experienced leaders can struggle with. In reality, the quality and not necessarily the quantity of communications is what matters most. Leaders should focus on delivering clear, concise and beneficial communications.

When examining how to improve your own communication skills, consider these concepts.

To communicate effectively, first think about communication as an outcome. Consider the communication from the receiver&8217;s point of view. The goal is to be certain that every communication is received as you intended it to be.

Mutual trust is a cornerstone of communication. Leaders must build and sustain trust. This is accomplished more so by actions than by words. Always keep your commitments because employees are always watching the leader.

Knowledge is power! Share it and don&8217;t hoard it. Provide as much knowledge and information as you can. Make sure your employees know how they impact customer service, product quality, and other critical business metrics. And don&8217;t forget to ensure that every employee understands how the company makes a profit.

Provide constant feedback and encouragement. Most employees desire to perform at a high level. Always communicate performance expectations and then let people know how they are doing.

When communicating, show consideration to others. For example, starting meetings on time shows that you respect the time of those in attendance. When sending an e-mail communication, keep it concise. People dislike reading rambling messages.

Good communication is critical to business success. Show me a smooth running business and I will show you a workplace where the leader is &8220;walking the talk.&8221;