Whenever there is conflict between two people…or between ‘management’ and the employees…or between husband and wife…parent and child…we will find that communication could’ve been better. I know I have blown it several times in all of my relationships many times.
Over the past few months I have seen one thing that every leader could do that would improve their communication skills immediately.
Most leaders are go-getters. They see a need or have an idea and tend to jump all over it and take action. This is admirable and usually motivated by a desire to help and make things better for the team. But, this tendency to jump all over things can also have some negative effects like limiting the growth of others, communicating distrust or just ticking people off because they don’t feel that they’re really ‘heard.’
Recently, I was working with a group that needed to make some changes in their structure. The leader jumped all over the needs, made some decisions and some announcements regarding the changes and moved on…so he thought.
There were a few things that should’ve been talked through and some of the organizations other leaders felt that they weren’t trusted. This led to a few weeks of unnecessary hassles for all.
I have found that when a leader makes a commitment to slow down and really listen, things go smoothly.
When a leader listens, asks questions, sleeps on it and gets advice it is almost a guarantee that a great decision will be made.
I know that there are also times when a leader doesn’t have the luxury of taking time to make choices. I get that and understand it. I will add that if a leader practices the habit of slowing down and running things by trusted advisors there is greater trust and support for that leader when quick decisions need to be made.
Next time you are working with your kids, business associates or clients, try slowing down. Be a listener. Ask questions and let things roll around in your head for a bit. Trust others to weigh in and be slow to charge ahead!
Here’s another great read on communication Silence Separates