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Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00

More than words can say: Communication that will help your career

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In my opinion, the single biggest determining factor in whether a change initiative is successful or not is communication.  Communication across the leadership team, communication from leadership to managers and employees – and communication from people on the front lines back to management.

The challenge is that good communication is never a one-way street:  It requires that everyone in the chain has good communication skills, from the most junior intern right up to the C-suite heavy-hitters.

You may not be able to change everyone in your organization, but you might be surprised to find that improving your own communication skills can have a positive effect on those around you.  Here are some tips:

change management communication

Communication tips for everyone, no matter what their role in the organization:

  • Be respectful
  • Be a great listener (and acknowledge that you’re listening)
  • Remember that communication is two-way (listen and respond)
  • Speak so others can hear you (put it in terms your audience will understand and appreciate)

Tips for Recipients (individual contributors):

  • Ask questions to get the information you need
  • Communicate as positively with peers as with those above you
  • Speak so others can hear you (and pay attention to the channel they respond to best)
  • Listen so others will want to talk to you

Tips for Translators (supervisors/managers):

  • Listen – so your employees will talk to you
  • Take information from above and convey it clearly to those below you
  • Use positive communication to build teams (both the one you manage and the management team you’re part of)
  • Don’t overload your team – be concise, not overwhelming
  • Learn to ‘hear between the lines’
  • Understand company direction and help your staff understand it

Tips for Synthesizers (directors/vice-presidents):

  • Listen for clarity from above
  • Listen with compassion from below
  • Synthesize information into a ‘narrative’ or ‘story’ that helps you move your teams toward their goals
  • Use the right filter for what you’re hearing (understand the subtext)
  • Communicate so your boss will hear you (be strategic)
  • Communicate so employees will want to listen to you (be engaging)
  • Communicate to strengthen alliances with your peers (be a valued source of insight)

Sounds simple when it’s here in bullet points, doesn’t it?  But great communication really requires reflection and a conscious effort to understand the person (or people) to whom you’re communicating – it’s really about getting in the habit of making that effort on a day-to-day basis.

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Beth Banks Cohn, PhD, founder and president of ADRA Change Architects, is dedicated to helping you and your organization reach your full business potential…
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