SuperSTAR Performance: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
I am exploring the nine strategies of superstar leaders in the trenches of the organization. I am not talking CEO’s but all the other managers that execute key plans and make the biggest difference in companies. The strategies stem from our research that indicates that the best leaders use certain approaches consistently and effectively to set themselves above average managers. The first two strategies have already been discussed-Goals and Planning, and Training. More will follow. The third, is COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE.
The word is used three times because it’s that important. It’s critical that communication be positive, helpful and motivating. We are not advocating for more of just any type of communicating; for example, more yelling, screaming and threatening is not helpful.
Recently, CEOs were asked in a survey, why are you successful? The majority said their ability to communicate effectively is what helped them rise to the top. Contrast this with employee feedback from employee engagement surveys. One of the biggest complaint areas for employees is poor communication from leadership. Finally, the #1 reason employees quit a job is they dislike their boss. The biggest concern-the lack of communication. What we have here is a perception gap. Obviously, managers have room for improvement. A manager that does communicate well holds a key to employee motivation few managers understand.
Focus on these areas to begin improving your communication and your team morale:
Communicate about Goals and Plans
Do this with each team member and with the team as a whole. Ensure that everyone understand their priorities, expectations and goals. Review results in “real-time”. Update plans at least quarterly. Studies show you can increase performance 16% or more through this process.
Communicate in Team Meetings
Hold regular team meetings. Run an effective meeting. (See my article on this.) Your purpose is to inform, discuss, problems-solve, motivate and train. Without meetings the rumor mill runs and negativity spreads. With a consistent process you can keep your team focused and upbeat.
Communicate by MBWA
Tom Peters coined the term: Managing by Wandering Around. This means to stay involved in day-to-day activity not to micro-manage but to engage positively. Leadership is a high contact sport.
For the most part, employees want to do well. And by communicating about goals, plans, outcomes and problems, we can work together as a team to do better. In fact, through our research, I have noticed that a common problem in teams is the difference between what managers choose to communicate and what employees want to know. The lesson learned here is that managers must know what their employees want to know, in order to communicate the right thing. Not only that, but it’s also important for managers to communicate it in the right way.
Communicating the right thing in the right way establishes trust and minimizes misunderstandings. This clarity and cohesion are bound to benefit your team’s level of effectiveness, productivity and success.