Your greatest leadership asset is your ability to communicate. Do this well and everything else will fall into place.
Communications systems start with listening. Listen to employees, suppliers, shareholders and of highest value listen to your customers. Humans respond best when they feel seen, heard and understood and the only way to create that sense of trust is to actively listen.
A great listening strategy is to be curious and ask questions to fully understand what the other person is saying. A front line employee will provide you with amazing insight into your own business when you take the time to listen. It is ok when you don’t agree with or like what you hear, remember you are gathering information and making the other person feel valued.
One of the most powerful statements to remember when listening is “Acknowledgement is not Agreement”. You don’t have to agree with what you are hearing nor do you need to comment in the moment. Simple acknowledge what you hear with a nod and this will take the pressure off having to respond.
When company processes are documented it significantly improves communication. Team members then don’t have to constantly be asking questions on how you want things done. Ensure that there is a system for feedback of systems that are missing, broken or need improvement. This will reduce frustrations at all levels giving your team the ability to communicate to you and others on the team. A systems communication tool can be as simple as a whiteboard or notebook where everyone is encouraged to share their suggestions.
Getting things done through other people requires robust communication and the more that is documented the easier this is. Small business owners often become the bottle neck stopping or delaying projects due to their inability to fully communicate what they want and need.
As time consuming and annoying as the process of documentation can be, it has such a high return and will move a business forward so much faster it is worth every hour spend doing it.
Imagine not having to do everything yourself because you have clearly communicated the vision, values and goals of a project and together have documented the steps to achieving those goals. Powerful and profitable!
Consider scheduling communication meetings daily, weekly, and/or monthly with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Keep meetings positive, forward focused and make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute to solutions.
Until next week, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!