How Leaders Can Communicate [Much] Better with Surprisingly Little Effort and Change – Part One

As a team leader, you must continuously evolve your leadership style to best suit your current team. For example, in some cases, you may need to spend more time delegating tasks to each member of the team. Hand holding can be essential… but it’s not always needed.

For instance, paradoxically, other teams or employees may thrive when you aren’t as involved in the assignment of duties, project management and follow up.

Regardless of the composition of your team – and the nature of the hand-holding (or lack thereof) you do – you will always need to be a clear and effective communicator. Below are some tips for improving your communication with members of your team without having to change much about yourself or how you work or think.

1. Conduct regular meetings with individual team members.

One-on-one meetings give you a worm’s eye perspective on your business and your people, which can be handy, especially if your team is large or geographically diverse. Schedule one-on-one meetings with each member of your team on a regular basis, and keep those meetings sacrosanct.

2. Prepare for each meeting in advance.

If you come into one-on-one meetings with no material prepared, the meeting won’t be as successful as it could be (obviously), and you’ll be wasting everyone’s time and enthusiasm. Before you attend any meeting, sit down and make a note of the items you would like to discuss, and visualize what “great success” would look like for the meeting.

3. Call it like it is.

Avoid the temptation to come up with a clever name for your one-on-one meetings. Calling these meetings by other names can mislead team members with regard to the meeting’s purpose. For example, if you refer to your meeting as a “check-in” or “update,” team members may assume that the meeting exists only to bring you up to speed on the team’s activity, so they may not feel comfortable sharing their ideas or concerns with you.

4. Keep your appointments.

Nothing is more frustrating than clearing your schedule for a meeting with your team leader, only to find out that the meeting has been canceled at the last minute. Not only does this cause immediate frustration, but it can also damage the rapport between the team leader and members. Thus, you should always keep your scheduled appointments, if at all possible. Treat them like you would treat meetings with game-changing investors or huge new prospective clients.

Just by scheduling these meetings and forcing yourself to prepare, attend and listen, you’ll vastly improve your lines of communication.

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