Want to know if you’re effectively communicating with your team? Are you incorporating the three C’s of essential communication: clarity, consistency, and coaching?
Clarity – expectations and feedback
This may sound obvious, but for many leaders this can be a stumbling block. It’s all too easy and too common for leaders to assume that team members should “just know” what it is expected. But your team members aren’t mind readers, and it’s unfair to place this burden on them. If you aren’t clearly and specifically relaying expectations, you are setting your team members up for failure and yourself up for disappointment. Additionally, you need to provide clear and specific feedback, both when things go right and when there is room for improvement. Again, you are doing your team and yourself a disservice when you fail to follow up with specific, objective, actionable feedback.
Consistency - versus intensity
I once had a boss that would go weeks (yes, weeks) without checking in on me. Then we would have a marathon “catch up” session, my boss would insist that we would “meet weekly from now on,” and then after a week or two the meetings would get postponed, and then canceled, and then months would go by and the cycle would repeat itself…for years. Just like any fitness routine, consistency trumps intensity. You need to show up for your team members, both for the entire team and for each individual, and you need to do it regularly. It isn’t enough to check in when it’s convenient, or when there is an emergency – that’s not communication. And just like you’d feel worse if you tried to run a marathon without training, it honestly felt worse when my boss would make false promises than it did when they didn’t show up at all. Don’t swoop in once in a while, share some platitudes with your team and expect them to feel connected with you. Put in the time and effort to truly connect and communicate with your team – then when you do have that emergency, they’ll be more than willing to jump in.
Coaching - out with autocracy in with the feedback loop
The old management style of autocratic and authoritarian leadership is no longer effective (actually, I’m not sure it ever was). Your team members crave coaching and mentoring, and it’s your job to provide it. Circling back to the concept of feedback, it is essential that you provide positive and critical feedback on a regular basis – this is how your team members grow. Feel like you don’t have time? Check out my blog post on How to Have Better One-One Meetings. In the post I outline a semi-structured format for a productive and meaningful 30-minute meeting. Also, if you aren’t sure how to get started with a coaching style of communication, check out my blog post, Questions You Should Be Asking Your Team.