Thursday, February 27, 2014

Communication is key: Leadership 101

Feb. 27, 2014
Today's idea: Communicate effectively

Communication within an organization is absolutely key to its success, or failure. A leader must be able to express a vision, enthusiastically and clearly.  Modern technology allows us instant communication.  It's a blessing and a curse.  It gives us a chance to relay great ideas, share timely news, or get clarification of a task.  Great!  But it takes away all the tone and charisma from the exchange.  And NO, emoticons do not count as "tone".  

At a minimum, effective leaders use the following points in communicating with their team.

  1. Know your message- Take time to know exactly what you want to say.  Say it with enthusiasm.
  2. Know your audience- Who are these folks and why do they want to hear what I have to say?  Understand that, and you can tailor your message to be more effective.
  3. Know when to be brief- Simplify, Simplify. Simplify.
  4. Know that timing is critical-   Let's talk email and texting.  Respond in a timely fashion.  Even if you don't know the answer to their question, people want to know they've been heard and you're working on the issue.
  5. Know what the other person looks or sounds like-  Face-to-face or telephone conversation is infinitely more effective than email.  It builds stronger relationships.  It leaves no ambiguity.  Email is a breeding ground for unintended offenses and hard feelings.  Use it, but don't rely on it to build a cohesive team.
  6. Know how to listen-  Seek responses.  Answer questions.  Watch for actions.
Communicate effectively.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Show them you care. Leadership 101

Isn't it interesting how different leaders interact with their organizations?   When a leader takes the time to learn effective communication and team building techniques, it shows.  Millions of dollars a year are spent on seminars and books addressing effective leadership. I won't pretend to be an expert on the subject.  However, I have devoted at least 15 years of my life to such study.  So with that in mind, I'd like to start a short blog series devoted to thoughts on the matter.  

Today's idea:  Show them you care.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Sure, the team/community/fellowship you lead wantS to know that you are experienced and that you won't lead them astray.  But if you see those individuals as a means to a end, they will know it.  Show them GENUINE concern for their well being.  Take action on their insights and suggestions when appropriate.  Respect them.  Show them you want the best for them.  And for goodness sake, show them how their efforts positively influence the team, and you personally.  

This doesn't mean you have to send them fuzzy fluffy notecards or gush over them when you see they've done something they're expected to do.  This means that you LISTEN to them.  Greet them with eye contact and a warm smile.  Let them know when they do a great job.  SAY THANK YOU.  And mean it.

Let them know you care.