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3 Communication Tips For Better Leadership

Congratulations! You did it! You got the new management role. You’ve worked years in your chosen industry, so you know the subject matter inside out, only problem is, how do you manage not only yourself, but a whole team of people?

A recent statistic said that 75% of people leave their job because of a bad boss. That’s a huge number of staff leaving their jobs, meaning more staff having to be hired and trained up, meaning it’s costly financially but also it’s costly in time. Anyone who’s manages people knows that it’s not easy a lot of the time. As a people manager, some of the things you’ll contend with are dealing with various different personality types - from the employee who always likes to challenge your decisions and doesn’t like change, to the team member to can’t work to deadlines, procrastinates over everything and doesn’t believe in their own ability. Then there’s the likelihood that you’re managing someone who also went for the job, but didn’t get it, so isn’t going to make your life very easy. And let’s not forget the staff who don’t really like their job, have been in the company for too long, but aren’t leaving because they don’t have the confidence to. The list of different people and personality types you’ll be managing is endless! So, where do you start? How do you ensure you’re getting the best out of your team, ensuring they’re motivated to work towards a common goal and they feel valued and appreciated?

The short answer is, it’s not easy, but the answer lies in your communication with them.

Here are my top tips for anyone taking on the challenging yet rewarding feat of people management.

1. Discover the different personalities in your team – one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to management. A lot of managers make the mistake of deciding one style of leadership that suits them, and presuming everyone will adapt. Not so. Effective managers recognise the different personalities in their team and understand the factors that motivate these people to perform successfully. Each individual has a unique style of learning, processing information, working, decision making, and communicating. They find different work environments productive and motivating. Most workplace conflicts stem from miscommunication and clashes between the different personalities. By recognising each personality type and how they tend to behave, a manager can quickly find common ground and defuse conflict situations. Using this knowledge, they can create a harmonious and productive working environment. A great way of uncovering your ‘different personalities, priorities and traits is by using DISC profiling – something I am able to provide as a service to corporate teams. By knowing what personality profile you are, as well as your team's, it will help you delegate, communicate, and lead them more effectively.

· Listen twice as much as you talk – we’ve all heard Epictetus’ quote, 'We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ' In modern management, just as in modern life, telling people what to do isn’t going to result in them listening and just doing it. An effective manager must listen, really listen to their staff. How do things look from their perspective? What are their challenges that’s stopping them? What do they need from you, their manager to do their job better? This is where managers would benefit from coaching skills training. Asking the right questions, to help the individual find their own answer. This way of solving a problem helps towards increased confidence, it heightens self-awareness, improves productivity and greater wellbeing all round.

· Praise! – Human brains have a negative bias, so for the 9 out of 10 good things we do, we are programmed to naturally remember the one thing we didn’t do so well and then we often keep it on loop in our head, going over and over it, reinforcing it. It’s not just us doing it to ourselves, we often remember the negative things of others more than the good things. It’s so important to get out of this mindset – well, unless the individual isn’t doing a good job and needs to be given the sack! However, giving positive feedback doesn’t mean just saying “good job” - which can sometimes come across as vague or insincere. Rather, it’s better to adopt the what/why approach. This involves telling the person what it was about their behaviour or action that impressed you, and why what they did was effective. This approach enables you to give really direct and to the point feedback - so that the individual knows exactly what is expected of them. Positive feedback helps motivation, boosts confidence, and shows your team you value them. It helps people to understand and develop their skills. And all this has a positive impact on individual, team, and organisational performance. As a manager, giving positive feedback should be a simple part of your practice. But as an organisation, everyone should be encouraged to be more open with each other in giving praise, recognition, and encouragement.

If you're wanting some support in coaching for better communication as a leader or for your team, then get in touch to discuss how I can help.

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