A different Approach to Communication

A vital component of leadership is inviting everyone in the organisation to engage in dialogue. Effective communication is key to success in any organisation. However, relying on the boldest, the loudest, and the most forceful is not always conducive to effective communication. In fact, it can sometimes sideline or even suppress the most valuable contributions. As a leader, how you speak can dramatically impact the contributions you receive from those you are conversing with. Demonstrating your willingness to communicate differently, invite dialogue and listen intently to what people say shows the employees that you are willing to show the way by changing first.

One clear symptom of poor leadership is when people with leadership positions surround themselves with ‘yes people’ who don’t challenge them and only say what they think their leader wants to hear. These appointed leaders often seek ways NOT to change to protect their position. But they are not true leaders.

You will have heard of leaders who complain that "their people don't engage with them"? It's a common complaint among people in leadership roles and can be frustrating. But the good news is that there are ways to improve the situation.

In both previous books, The Power of Organisation and The Power of Management,  we outlined the five core ways of speaking - directive, expressive, descriptive, inquisitive, and appreciative -  and how they could influence the levels of dialogue. It is, therefore, vital that leaders at all levels of the organisations are aware of and know how to create the right conditions for the speaking they are employing. You can learn more about communication structures from the Leadership Communications Course.

When you are speaking, it's important that your audience knows which form of speaking you are using. However, a challenge for strong leaders is that when they are being descriptive, inquisitive, or even expressive, people may listen to them as though they are being directive. Their audience may not hear any invitation for dialogue and treat what you say as gospel. This can lead to a lack of engagement and valuable contributions from your team. So leaders need to know how to prepare the ground for dialogue to occur.

As a senior executive, you need everyone to engage with the basics at the core of communication. These should be understood by everyone in your organisation so that it can provide shared development at all levels and enhance performance through clear communication and dialogue.

Are you aware of how you are being listened to? Do your people engage in dialogue with you or sit there nodding their heads? Please comment.



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