Six Communication Tips For Leaders
Leaders often obtain their position for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to communicate. It is imperative leaders learn how to motivate and affirm their team even if their gifting is in another area.
So where should they start?
Proverbs 4 offers those in leadership an excellent foundation on which to improve their communication and build better teams.
Make It Memorable
The writer recounts the lessons his father told him when he was just a child (v.3) but he still remembers it vividly. A manager must be willing to adjust a message to maximize its significance in the mind of the team.
Don’t assume the team will understand why something is important or significant. It’s your responsibility to drive it home with clear communication.
Speak Directly to the Audience
The writer remembered being spoken to directly, and then he, in turn, speaks directly to his son. (v. 10)
If you throw messages out without making your audience clear, don’t be surprised when they have little impact.
Only a lazy or unseasoned CEO will type some directive in the company wide messaging board (think the “general” channel if you use Slack) and direct it at no one in particular rather than properly push her idea down the company’s organizational chart.
Don’t throw important messages into the void and expect your team to grab them. It’s good and responsible leadership to tell your team it’s time to listen up.
And don’t assume that because you told Billy something and John was in the room, that John knows you want him to remember what you said.
Don’t Neglect a Generation
Every day there is a new book or theory about how to talk to millennials. Or how to listen to them. But if you are managing more than a few people, the odds are you have millennials on your team — or even the next in line, members of Generation Z.
It is a huge mistake to write off team members of a certain generation or think of them as unmanageable simply because of their age. The same verses mentioned above exemplify using a tactical and measured approach to impart wisdom to another generation.
If you can’t communicate effectively to motivate the 20-year-old at the front desk, that says more about your weaknesses than his.
Will you have to adapt? Of course, but that is the necessary skill of leadership.
Give Clear Boundaries
The writer of Proverbs tells the reader “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.”
This illustrates a vital truth about managerial communication.
Articulating limits to your team is not micromanaging. It is good leadership. It is also good stewardship of the creativity and morale for which you are responsible.
Anticipate Pitfalls For Your Team
Any hack with a calculator and a monthly report can whine to his team about their mistakes. But it takes a wise leader to teach his team before they begin how to avoid those same mistakes. This is imparting wisdom.
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (vs. 25-27)
Notice how the writer of Proverbs is being proactive about how to avoid pitfalls. He isn’t looking back in time with criticisms. He is looking forward in time with specific cautions.
Repeat Important Points
Throughout the 4th chapter of Proverbs and throughout the rest of the book, the writer repeats essential points over and over again.
Your pride may try to convince you that your leadership position excludes you from the inconvenience of repeating yourself.
Do not buy that hype. Repeating important messages means you are a good leader. It does not mean your team members are bad listeners.
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