We all have all developed a very mild level of attention deficit in recent times. We can hardly help it with all these different ways of connecting with each other available to us.
Have you heard the latest news? Let me text it to you: — OTUS AFAICT dog saves fam. troo TIME — [on a totally unrelated subject as far as I can tell a dog saves a family, I have true tears in my eyes]. If that’s not accurate enough and you need to save time selecting letters why not try using emoji’s? [dog warns its family of a fire in the house and they call the fire brigade to put it out]. What about when you’re feeling bored and want to say hello to your friends but don’t have anything to say? Snapchat will solve that problem. Find a funny photo, snap it, send it, job done.
Email may hit it over the net for you if it’s more involved than a snap, text or you feel (worried) your message isn’t being received the way you’d like for it to be. Nowadays we are asked to do more than one thing at a time, have our attention on multiple sources and we can feel a sense of restless making us we flip from contacting our friends, to watching the weather, watching a documentary or reading a report all at the same time (Lencioni 2003, pp 51-52). How can something so heavily used like communicating be one of the the most common sources of frustration, anxiety and tension when we do it so much, each and every day?
A web of messages
The reality of today’s day and age is that we have so many ways to connect with each other we have confused this with our inability communicate. Many of us still need to develop our communication skills. That is, sending a message that says exactly what you meant, in the way you wanted it to, and it is received that same exact way by the person(s) you’re telling it to. Sounds easy right. It’s one of the most difficult of human skills to attain. How many times after an argument have we told ourselves “why weren’t they listening?”. That’s because communication goes in two directions and we often forget one very important end of that stick – ours.
Major challenges in businesses revolve around this theme of communicating with each other in order to reach goals, grow and get a business going. Having the technical know-how within a business is just one hurdle to overcome, communicating effectively is the next hurdle, one which never fails to cause headaches and sleepless nights. In One Week At Time a quirky and effective sentence is used to illustrate how, as Leaders, we can say the exact same thing with only a slight change of emphasis, only to we wind up changing the entire meaning of the whole sentence altogether.
Coming at you from all corners
When a person has shifted into a position of leadership the levels of communication can fly out at them from all corners of the world and in super fast speed. Some days will feel like we’ve had a series of endless conversations. Learning how to handle those interactions will lessen the load and provide a stronger shield. Some of the regular things that Business Leaders are called on to communicate and participate in are (HBE 2004 p17):
- Vision of a business
- Major milestones
- Mediation of major conflicts
- Resource identification
- Key relationship nurturing
- Budget and finance
How much or how little a Business Leader contributes to these discussions is highly personalised. Regardless of this, the intention, emphasis and selection of what message they would like to convey in those situations (and others) is critical to the business and has major flow-on effects if received well (or not).
Back to basics
Not everyone is interested in an invitation to an Instagram page, Twitter feed or a blog. And as a Leader you may opt out of one or all of these new found ways of connecting if they aren’t serving your business any purpose. And that’s perfectly okay. Learning how to communicate as a leader means you can choose how you want to gather information as well. Leadership communication is something all Business Leaders can develop (Owen 2011, p148). Some leaders also choose how to understand their teams, some even personally get to know their staff, colleagues and peers one-on-one. Of course, the suggestion here is not spend copious amounts of time talking to each and every member of your staff, as that would be counterproductive, which is why we set up structured meetings, times and places. The suggestion here is find assistance to develop the skills of saying what you need to say, when you need to, and to the right effect.
So let’s get started by getting back to basics. In every business its Leader will need to urgently converse with others about important matters. For those moments, the team at One Week At A Time are very keen on using just one marvellous connecting device for those circumstances. We refer to it as – talking on the telephone!
Owen, J. (2011) Leadership Rules: 50 Timeless Lessons for Leaders. Capstone Publishing. United Kingdom.
Restak., R Dr. (2003) The New Brain: How the Modern Age is rewiring your mind. Rodale Ltd. United Kingdom.
(HBE) Harvard Business Essentials (2004) Managing Projects Large or Small: The fundamental skills for delivering on Budget and on Time. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, Massachusetts USA.
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