By David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
Savvy business leaders have seen firsthand the power of good communication with employees, and how it can drive business success from the inside out.
While good internal communication gets the message out, great internal communication helps employees connect the dots between the business strategy and their role. In other words, when it's good, it informs; when it's great, it engages employees and moves them to action. Quite simply, it helps people and organizations become even better.
Since you're communicating with or without intention, you might as well get good at it.
Here are 10 tips for effective leadership communication:
- Communicate with integrity: Tell the truth always and without exception. Your credibility is at stake.
- Make time to communicate and make the most of that time: Set up regular face-to-face communication opportunities.
- Remember the basics: Who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Use stories: The right anecdote can be worth a thousand theories and facts, and can reinforce the outcomes, behaviors and actions you want to see.
- Build trust and credibility: Be visible and approachable; engage your employees openly, fully and early on. (Tip: The more change that's happening and the busier you are, the more you need to be communicating.)
- Hold a mirror to yourself: As you prepare to share updates and/or tough news, consider how you would like to be communicated with if you were in the employees' shoes.
- Outline expectations clearly: It's the fastest way to find out if employees are engaged and on the same page as you, and if they're not, it's a safe way to clarify expectations.
- Don't wait to communicate until you have all the answers: By then it will be too late - if you wait, someone is going to speak on your behalf and fill the information vacuum whether the information is right or wrong.
- Provide context and relevance: That allows employees to understand the meaning behind what's being said and understand what it means to them; have a message platform of core messages and actions.
- Be honest, human, empathetic and show you care: It's OK to let employees know that it's hard to have to deliver tough news; do what you can to make them feel comforted, and let the staff that remain mourn the losses of co-workers.
Remember that today's employees may be tomorrow's prospects, clients, bosses or future job candidates.
These time-tested solutions will help you inspire, motivate and engage your employees and get the business results you want and deserve.
More and more, that makes internal communication one of the most valuable investments today's business leaders can make.
David Grossman, ABC, APR Fellow PRSA, helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership and communication.