Words are among our greatest tools. They are your greatest tools. They are the window into values, your abilities, where you are from (allegedly,) so whether you are CEO of a large organisation or just trying to get a group to agree with you or toward a certain outcome, there are words and messages you need to get across and communicate constantly to lead effectively.
So each day plan to say the things below to at least one person and observe the results.
This is the Situation
People want to know what is going on. The odds are, they will find out one way or another, or worse, fill in the blanks with conjecture. Keeping important things too close to yourself, saps morale. Worse, it robs you of your team’s insight, as well as making people feel undervalued. It may sound crazy letting them in on everything but some of the world’s most successful people, past and present did just that, and as the saying goes, the rest is History.
Here is the Plan
As leader you are suppose to lead. That is what leaders do. People will offer up great ideas, suggestions even. Especially if you are saying and doing everything else on this list. But you need to be able to make decisions, the right decisions and stand behind them. Your team needs to know where you are taking them and how. Also you need to remember the crucial rule – You need to be able to say ‘No’ and mean it. Especially to moves and ideas that are inconsistent with one’s plan.
What Do You Need?
This question is crucial for two reasons. First, people need to know you have their best interests on personal and professional levels. You want them to succeed. Second, if you have put together a great plan, you need to leverage every person’s abilities to the maximum extent possible. If they are not giving it their all, you need to know why.
Tell Me More
Let people know you are more interested in finding good answers than hearing your own voice. Encourage others to share their opinions – Force this issue if needs be. Remaining silent is an invitation for others to offer their ideas and insights.
Remember Our Values
You cannot possibly look over the shoulder of every person making decisions that affect your organisation. You can however remind people to make choices the rest of their team will be proud of. Reminding people of your values requires you can actually able to articulate shared values.
I Trust You
If you cannot trust the people in your team, then they should not be on your team in the first place. You need to trust their integrity, their judgement, their confidence and their passion. You need to also ensure they understand how much you depend on them.
You Can Count On Me
This, the flip side of the last point is true as well. If your team cannot trust you, then they should not be doing you the great honour of allowing you to lead them. So tell them you have got their back and then work like hell to fulfil the promises you make. If you make promises that is.
We Can Do Better
One of the toughest, most crucial parts of leadership is to push your team to a higher standard than they might set for themselves. That means congratulating them when they do well but also not ‘molly-coddling’ them when they fail to live up to their potential. This also means admitting when you fail to live up to those standards as well.
Do not create a culture where the only reward for great work is more work. Instead, make it a practice to celebrate the wins, big and small. This can mean big parties and bonuses but it can be just as important to call people out for great work and congratulate them for their milestone – Both professional and personal.