Be a better leader by communicating better

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Three leadership skills to develop

Anyone out there had a candid conversation with their employees lately?

Not a discussion about business objectives, or water cooler conversation, or even that performance appraisal that you had to do – you know, the one you dreaded because you had to tell someone that they aren’t getting a raise again this year.

It’s tough to be a leader in tough times.  That is why you are still making the big bucks!    So what should you be doing as a leader for your employees in tough times?

Help them by helping yourself.   Here are three skills you can work on right now that will help you grow as a leader, and that will also benefit the people you lead right now.   All three skills blend together into one unified skill set.

  1. Be candid
  2. Be conversational
  3. Be a communicator

Why is being candid so important? Your employees are probably experiencing a lot of insecurity and fear right now, despite the recent announcement of an improving job market.   Their wages have stagnant, advancement opportunities limited, and many face the ultimate fear – loss of their job.

As a leader, they need you to be aware of these fears and provide assistance to your employees during these difficult times.  One of the best ways to do this is to practice being honest and candid when you talk with them, or when they seek information.  They need you to be as open and honest as possible when discussing concerns.   It is often easier to try to deflect such concerns, but you will help your people deal with their concerns more effectively by practicing candor.

Why is being conversational important? Employees want to talk to you, but they may afraid to do so.  Not all, but some, and those are the ones you need to reach out to.   By doing so, you can gain insights into what they are thinking – both good and bad.  This provides insight and helps to address the concerns that could be impacting your workforce.  Understanding of these issues is critical to being successful.

Why should you be a communicator? Communication is the lynchpin of leadership.  When you fail to communicate, your staff may falter. If they are insecure or afraid, they need you listen to them, and tell them the facts about what is going on.  They look to you to be their two way conduit within the organization.

These skills may seem simple and obvious, but they are critical.  All too often,  leaders choose to abdicate their responsibilities in these areas because it is easier and less stressful.   Don’t be one of these types.  Be a pro-active leader. You owe it to yourself, your employees, and your organization.  It will make your role and that of your employees more meaningful, and your organization will benefit in the long run!

Note: this piece was originally published over on Make Work Meaningful, so if you think you read it already, You probably did! – Michael

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