Improving Leadership through Improved Communication
Have you ever felt this way about YOUR Leaders?
Are your employees frustrated with the communication coming from your Leaders?
If you or your leaders are struggling with communication, then implement these 8 Steps to Clear Communication:
- What’s Your Story?
- Be Conversational
- Use Repetition
- Be Transparent and Honest
- Connect the Dots
- Be Intentional
- Listen with Intensity
- Become Feedback Hungry
1. What’s Your Story
The best communicators use stories to help people receive and retain information. As you are attempting to change behaviors, create stories to help people understand the behavior you are seeking to change and the behavior you are seeking to reinforce. One of the best examples of this is found in the Bible. Think about the Parables. If you are not familiar with this reference, then I recommend you check out this reference:
2. Be Conversational
This may sound simple and obvious, but think about the types of communication call center mangers usually share with employees. Often, communication is formal, written to communicate objectives, rules, regulations, or expectations. These types of communication may be important, but a balance of communication must exist. Sometimes, even the sharing of recognition or praise is communicated in a formal manner. Make these communications more conversational.
3. Use Repetition
The power of spaced repetitive learning is well documented. Don’t be afraid to continue to message important information. When your team is repeating the information back to you (even mockingly), you will know your message has been delivered effectively. Find many vehicles to deliver the information you need your team to receive. When the message is omnipresent, you have a much better chance of the message be received. Keep in mind, your employees will still need to implement the message to achieve desired behavior change.
4. Be Transparent and Honest
As we all know, most call centers are rumor central. While there are certainly times to keep information close to the vest, whenever possible, share information with your call center employees. Most employees want to feel included and “being in the know” is important to improve efficiency and productivity. The less impact rumors have on your business, the more effective your employees will handle your business.
5. Connect the Dots
This is critical to helping employees understand the strategy of the company. Many decisions are questioned by employees and may seem “stupid” by their standards. If decisions are explained and people hear “the rest of the story”, then the strategy becomes clear and the same decision or direction suddenly seems “wise”. Connecting the dots for people will turn you into a master communicator.
6. Be Intentional
Plan, then execute. When you are communicating it’s important to explain your plan in step by step directions before executing your plan. The planning and explaining of the plan is important to provide confidence to your teams. If you were traveling from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington, D.C., would you just jump in your car and drive? Probably not. Most people will take at least a brief look at a map and plan how to get to their destination. When you have others traveling with you, they are likely going to want to know your plan to arrive at the destination. Be intentional. Plan, then execute.
7. Listen with Intensity
How often do you see someone speaking, but all you hear is “Blah, blah, blah…”? Who is guilty of poor communication in this example? As a call center leader, you are likely expected to handle many tasks. When you are trying to complete an administrative task and you are focused on your computer, you may be interrupted by an employee with a question. Do you stop, turn and focus on the employee? Or are you like most call center managers and listen to the question with one ear and continue to work on your task? Often, these managers will need the question repeated, maybe several times, before focusing completely on the employee’s issue. Listening with intensity demonstrates to your employees that you care about them and their success. It demonstrates your level of professionalism. It sets the standard of listening for your team. If you don’t listen with intensity, then your employees may not listen with intensity to your customers.
8. Become Feedback Hungry
Your desire to improve your communication skills must begin with willingness to hear feedback. In fact, you need to seek feedback from people. Asking for feedback may seem like a scary idea at first, but most people who implement this idea find the value greatly outweighs the fear in the long run. Many people have received positive feedback and reinforcement of the things they do well. This may prove very rewarding. One question to ask when seeking feedback is “If I could change one thing about the way I communicated today, what should it be?” This type of question allows the person to provide their best feedback and keeps the communicator from feeling overwhelmed with negative feedback.
If you follow these 8 steps to clear communication, then you will improve your communications. Will you be an expert? It all depends on how well you understand your current ability to communicate. The link below will allow you to assess your communication style. The more you know about yourself, the more effective you will become.
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