25 May The Power of Communication in Business
Most people know that it is important for leaders to interact on a one-on-one level with all their employees.
Unfortunately though ‘knowing” makes no real difference to real-life behaviour. For example, I’ve had clients express concern about the lack of interaction with leaders they work with. Even when there is an interaction of a more personal and collaborative nature, it often results in the experience of not being heard and understood.
The data backs this up as one study shows that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their staff.
As communication in business is so important, what can you do to make sure that you excel in this area? Read on to find out the answer.
Why Aren’t We Listening to Each Other?
If you are a leader, it is vital to remember that your communication is founded on how you listen. Yet for most people, you could best describe their style of communication by how they pretend to or don’t even try to listen.
If we’re honest, we all harbour biases, labels, and patterns when listening. However, to build up your leadership muscle and for you to have effective communication in business, you need to park those tendencies.
You see, listening to understand requires purpose and intention.
This includes understanding human nature and instincts, leading to understanding yourself and others. This is important because these are the filters and lenses shaping how you listen.
How Leaders Can Encourage Good Communication in Business
The old saying goes, “People don’t want to know how much you know. People want to know how much you care.”
Giving someone your full attention, being emotionally available and listening intently is an understated act of care.
This level of vulnerability on the part of the listener is particularly vital for leaders, as it can inspire possibilities and capture the hearts of your employees.
Brave Communication Teaches Many Lessons
When Mark Whitten took over as General Manager for a car manufacturer in Canada, he committed to meeting with all 550 employees one to one.
One of the best communication tips is to consider drawing on values to start these conversations if you choose to do something similar. Using them as the basis for your conversation leads to there being an emotional or psychological safety net, encouraging authentic communication.
Courageously, Whitten asked employees what their expectations of him were. How many times have any of your leader(s) asked you what you expect of them? It’s certainly rare!
Take a moment to envision the impact of that question.
Most people would love to have a say and feel like they have can contribute to their business. That’s exactly what Whitten allowed his employees to do and is a great starting point for communication for small businesses.
Whitten says his 3 key findings from this exercise were:
1. Communication is extremely important to employees
In the absence of communication people make up their own stories and they are rarely positive.
2. People want feedback
Even if we are giving the most difficult of messages, people prefer to be told directly. Doing so increases respect, another important pillar of communication in business.
3. The employees were very committed
These conversations were a perfect opportunity to acknowledge their commitment and beyond even more than that to appreciate who they are and the difference their individual contribution makes.
Communication Is Key
The importance of creating connection and understanding with each employee cannot be downplayed as unimportant small business advice.
It serves as fuel for employees to put their heart (passion) and mind into their work. Regardless of the creative initiatives you implement, it is listening to understand that will make a huge difference for your business.
If you are dedicated to stimulating great communication in business, I have designed my workshops and coaching programs to do just that.
Follow this link to reach out for a conversation and see how I can help your business to thrive.