Frustration with their leader’s communication style was the theme running through my coaching sessions last week. It boggles my mind that leaders thrive in their roles despite their poor communication. They assume people will grow without frequent feedback on what is working well and what could be better.
People at all levels need feedback to continually work on being their best. When feedback is saved for annual or semi-annual performance discussions, it’s too late to be constructive. In fact, as I heard last week from VP, director and manager levels, it can be destructive.
Here are guidelines so that YOU can be a person-building communicator.
- Active listening is key. Pay attention to what is being said, as well as body language, tone of voice, etc. Jot notes to capture key points during or after the conversation for future reference.
- Get to know what makes people tick.Their strengths, values, personal vision of success. It will be much easier to help them grow if you know what they want to grow toward.
- Help them understand what their brand is,what is important in the eyes of leadership, so that when their name comes up they are viewed positively.
- Keep track of what they do well and when they falter.Simple line items in a Word doc or Contact will show growth and trends over time. They will appreciate specific examples of what they’ve done well and what they could work on.
- Don’t just say what you think.Ask questions. How do they think they’re doing? What have they learned? What do they want to learn? What could they do better next time?
- Ask what you can do or do differently to help them be more successful in their role.
- Get good at person-building conversations. Schedule quarterly conversations to discuss their progress, next goals. And keep those appointments.
You are a communication role model, no matter your level. When you are intentional about having person-building conversations, you broaden others’ thinking about themselves and their possibilities. And you grow as a result, too.