It’s no secret that effective communication is the cornerstone of successful leadership. Despite its importance, we sometimes find ourselves dealing with certain challenges in this area. In fact, according to statistics shared by soocial.com, a branding agency, 33% of professionals agree that communication has become more challenging since 2021, and another 26% agree that business communication has deteriorated in the past year. It is truly a struggle for all of us.
Whether you’re a first-time manager or an experienced team leader, we all navigate communication challenges in one way or another in our leadership journey. So, If you’re struggling with unclear communication in your department, stick around. I’ll show you the four pitfalls to avoid and how to fix them!
The most important thing you should know is that you’re not alone in this journey; we all go through pitfalls regarding communication, but most importantly, we can overcome these with the proper techniques and tools I’m about to share. Before moving forward, I highly recommend downloading my FREE Guide to Being An Effective Team Leader, where you’ll learn the five actionable steps new managers must take to gain clarity, build relationships, and lead their new teams effectively.
Now that you’re set up with your guide, let’s talk about some of the most common communication trip-ups we find ourselves in as leaders and how we can overcome them:
Asynchronous Communication is the type of communication that doesn’t happen in real time, and it has truly become the norm in an era dominated by emails, instant messaging, and collaborative tools. Especially if you’re a millennial, like me, or just looking to avoid a potential conflict, sometimes we rely so much on these communication tools that, even though they offer convenience and flexibility, they can lead to misinterpretations and delays. The main thing is they limit the ability to create authentic connections with your team.
So, before using asynchronous communication, I want you to ask yourself:
Thinking about these questions will help you assess whether or not this is the proper type of communication to choose when communicating with your team and getting the desired results.
Sometimes, communication happens so fast that it leaves you wondering if it even happens. And we all have engaged in this type of communication, whether approaching someone in the middle of another conversation or while people are moving from one place to another, even telling someone something without giving the proper context and understanding to make an informed decision.
Drive-by Communication usually happens in fast-paced environments where information is shared so quickly that it won’t allow you to do anything with it. The problems with this type of communication are:
So, make sure to avoid this type of communication at all costs.
But the good news is that here’s a tool I’ve found to ensure my communication is precise and avoids going into the pitfall of drive-by communication. It’s a four-step process:
Step 1. Start by reflecting on these questions and be honest about your answers:
Step 2. Once you ask these questions, establish buckets or categories for each communication type. This organization will help you prepare with a mental framework in your mind and ensure you’re using the proper method; that way, when an executive engages in a type of communication, you have a fast response.
Step 3. Now it’s time to practice! Classify the proper information into your communication buckets to avoid frustration or misunderstanding.
Step 4. Ensure complete understanding of the message. Asking for feedback or specific results always helps to guarantee you’re both on the same page.
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Another leadership challenge we sometimes find ourselves in is only communicating with our teams when things go wrong. And I’m so guilty of this! I remember getting called out on this because many complained that they only heard from me when things went wrong! So, if you’re in this boat, please know you’re not the only one. While addressing issues is crucial, focusing solely on the problems can create frustration in your team. To avoid that, try to focus on what I like to call proactive communication.
Communicate your expectations and updates, try to celebrate your team’s achievements, and constantly provide them feedback to promote a balanced and motivated work environment. When challenges arise, address them quickly and close the loop. You want to highlight the lessons learned and improvement methods so these issues don’t happen again.
I have bad news for you: focusing too much on other people’s opinions may make your communication unclear. I get it; we all want to be appreciated and respected by our people, but this should not be your main focus as a team leader. Your goal should be to focus more on ensuring your message is clear and concise rather than if you sound confident, competent, or smart.
So, if you’re struggling in this area, ask yourself these questions:
Try to ground yourself in your message’s impact rather than how you sound. It’s hard, I know, but with this awareness and some practice, you can achieve outstanding results.
I hope these tips will help you overcome these common leadership challenges. Make sure to download my FREE Guide to Becoming an Effective Leader, or if you want a complete road map to excelling as a new leader, check out the New Manager Accelerator Program Here.
Comment below with other challenges you’ve encountered in your managerial career and how you’ve resolved them!
September 22, 2023