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Leadership communication can make or break your company. Poorly delivered messages can lead to confusion, disorganization and a decline in the bottom line. On the other hand, effective leadership communication can create a sense of certainty and unity among staff, resulting in a more productive and profitable organization. To ensure that your communications have the desired effect, avoid making these seven common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not communicating at all
One of the most common mistakes leaders make is failing to communicate with their team. This can take many forms, from neglecting to update employees on company changes or developments to not providing clear instructions on tasks or projects. Poor communication creates an environment of uncertainty and confusion, which can lead to decreased productivity and morale.
How to fix it: Make a point to regularly communicate with your team, whether by holding weekly meetings, sending out regular updates or simply being available to answer questions. Establishing and maintaining clear communication lines will help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals.
Related: 14 Proven Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills
Mistake #2: Communicating too much
While it’s important to keep your team updated, bombarding them with information can have the opposite effect of what you intended. Trying to cram too much into one update or email can overwhelm employees and make it difficult for them to process everything. This can lead to apathy or even resentment towards company communications.
How to fix it: Be concise and focused on your messages, highlighting only the most important information. If you have a lot to communicate, consider breaking it up into smaller chunks or sending it out over a period of time. Employees will be more likely to engage with messages that are easy to digest and relevant to their needs. Make it a standard practice to ask employees how they like to be communicated with. In some instances, employees might prefer and appreciate a phone call or an in-person meeting. You cannot know if you don’t ask!
Mistake #3: Being inconsistent
Another common mistake leaders make is being inconsistent with their communications. This can take the form of sending out irregular updates, skipping team meetings or changing the expectations for projects without warning. This inconsistency can create confusion and frustration among employees, who may feel they can’t rely on their leader for direction.
How to fix it: Try to maintain a consistent communication schedule, whether holding weekly meetings or sending out regular updates. Let your team know in advance if there are any changes to the schedule or expectations. This will help employees feel they can count on you for consistent guidance and leadership.
Related: The Role of Effective Communication in Entrepreneurial Success
Mistake #4: Being vague
When communicating with your team, it’s important to be clear and specific about what you expect. Vague messages can lead to confusion and misunderstanding, ultimately hampering productivity. For example, simply telling employees to “be more productive” will not likely result in real change. Being inclusive or respectful does not mean that you cannot be honest or direct in your communication style, but it does mean that honest, reciprocal communication should be valued on your team.
How to fix it: Be specific in your communications, giving clear instructions on what you expect from employees. If you want them to increase their productivity, give them tangible goals to work towards and a timeline for improvement. The SMART goal framework can be helpful for both managing priorities and improving the communication that supports them. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.
Mistake #5: Using “you” statements
When communicating with your team, it’s important to avoid using “you” statements. These phrases place blame or responsibility on the listener, such as “you need to be more productive” or “you didn’t do this correctly.” These statements can make employees feel defensive and resentful, damaging morale and hindering productivity.
How to fix it: Use “I” statements instead, focusing on your actions and feelings. For example, you could say, “I’m concerned about our productivity levels,” or “I noticed that this task wasn’t completed correctly.” These statements will help employees feel like you’re working with them rather than against them.
Mistake #6: Not listening
One of the most important aspects of effective communication is listening. This means taking the time to hear what your team has to say, whether it’s feedback on a project or concerns about their work environment. Active listening shows employees that you value their input and are willing to work together to find solutions.
How to fix it: Make a point to listen carefully when employees are speaking in individual conversations and team meetings. If you’re not sure you understand, ask clarifying questions. And once they’ve finished speaking, take the time to consider their input before responding. This will help ensure that you consider their needs and concerns.
Mistake #7: Not providing context
Finally, when sending out updates or giving instructions, leaders often forget to provide context for their employees. Without this context, employees may struggle to understand the purpose of the message or how it applies to them. As a result, they may feel disengaged or even resentful.
How to fix it: Make sure to provide context for your communications, whether you’re sending out an email update or giving a presentation to the team. Explain why this information is important and how it will impact employees. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and invested in the message you’re trying to communicate.
Leaders, take heed! The following blunders can have a serious impact on your company’s communications. However, if you catch them early and make the necessary corrections, you can avoid any potential damage. Are you making any of these mistakes in your own communication? How will you correct them and empower your team to hold you accountable for improving?
Related: The 3 Types of Communication You Need to Maintain Your Business