As business owners, leaders and managers, we often feel in constant cycle of repeating the same message over and over and over again. This can feel like pounding your head against a brick wall, followed by the “why don’t they get it?” question.
Let’s bandage up your forehead and help you break out of this cycle.
- Stop the blame game. “They” is never a good word when referring to a team. Try “us,” which includes you.
- Take a hard look at your communication style and how it might be improved. As the leader of your company the onus of getting a message communicated falls squarely on your shoulders. You must be certain that the information you are sending is easy for all to understand.
- Individualize the process. Each member of your team processes information differently. You must do your best to discover the “language” that each team member utilizes and speak to their differences. Speak French to me and you’d lose me after “bonjour.” Are you speaking French to a team member who only understands Portuguese? Some team members may be more visual and need to have something to see, in addition to verbal instructions.
- Keep communication in both directions. Does your team know your preferred methods of communication? Make sure they know how you like to receive your information. Let them know under what circumstances e-mail is better than voicemail, or a text better than an e-mail.
- Make it personal. Does your team know how the information you are giving them impacts them on an individual basis? If they don’t feel a sense of urgency and responsibility, you are not really communicating. For example, if you say that there’s an urgency to increase revenue and they do not understand the benefit and/or risk to them, it’s simply blah, blah, blah — words with little meaning. Find the means and opportunities to make each message have a personal tie-in for every team member and watch how quickly the light bulbs go off.
- Attach communication to accountability. If you get on your high horse regarding specific duties not being done, yet there is not a level of accountability or follow up, your message is not being heard. Make sure that employees understand who is responsible for what and how they will be evaluated. Create systems so that you are not continually reinventing the wheel. Then preach accountability regularly. It’s a never-ending process.
Even when you follow these steps, do not expect that your message will be instantly received and action occur. Be kind and patient. Let your team know what’s in it for them and how it relates to their world. While relentless communication can seem like a daunting task, when you speak passionately, honestly and from a place of good intentions, the message becomes both easier to deliver and more receptively received.
Kristin Stutz is a Certified Strategies Coach and owner/president of River Haven Salon & Spa, Black River Falls, Wisc.