Over the last few months, we’ve been looking at the biggest mistakes a leader can make, as identified in our Fault Lines Leadership Study. These errors undermine the positive aspects of a leader’s agenda. Today we round out the top 5.
With all of the talk about the need for employee engagement, let’s flip the coin over and see what’s on the other side? The backside of the issue is “leader engagement.” Is anybody paying attention to that?
When leaders are perceived as disengaged bad things happen.
If employees think that their leader is aloof, or distant, or not in touch, they check out as well. Commitment compromised. Morale busted. All it takes is the idea that the leader is disinterested, in either the work, or the worker, to cause the disconnect.
There’s a direct linkage between being engaged as a leader and your ability to communicate. Good communication expresses engagement. Belief in the mission. The importance of the effort. Poor communication – the opposite.
So what should leaders work harder to get across?
A short checklist:
- Clarity of the mission and goals of the organization/team/workgroup
- What the expectations and desired outcomes are
- Keeping employees abreast with their work, and what’s going on with their work
- The successes, needs, progress, and status of the organization
- Specific information, knowledge, direction, instructions needed to accomplish the task(s)
- Individual and group feedback on results
- The weather
Now about that last item – the weather. If your communication is all fact, and no feeling, you’ll miss the important aspect of getting to know your people beyond their work product, and understanding them as individuals, with everyday cares, concerns, and interests.
Certainly the poorest of the poor communicators regularly miss opportunities (or fail to appreciate the opportunity) to attract people to their agenda by building barriers vs. relationships.
On the other hand, good, open, positive communication with the workforce offers great benefits: improved production, buy-in, morale; elimination of confusion, frustration, and lack of motivation; consensus-building; trust; employee input; listening; open-dialogue. The results are significant – generating confidence in your leadership, and ultimately, achievement.
If that doesn’t engage you, nothing will.
– Jerry Strom
For more information about our leadership and team development programs, please visit http://www.JerryStrom.com . Join the mailing list to receive new articles as they are published.
This article is based on the *’Fault Lines Study: The Biggest Mistakes a Leader Can Make,’ copyright 2013, by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Find the Research Abstract, and request our primary findings paper, ‘The Listening Leader,’ which includes ‘Listening Strategies for the Executive Suite,’ at http://www.jerrystrom.com/research/js_fault-lines.html .