I believe we need to change the very nature of our conversations. We are wasting precious time in performance management dealing with problems we’ve created that could’ve been avoided through effective communication. Do we even give any thought to our conversations? When is it more effective to be speaking or listening for example?
Our job as leaders is to grow and develop our future leaders. In order to do this, we must increase our communication proficiency. We must become more effective at: Feedback conversations, Navigational conversations and Influential ones.
When delivering feedback, this means effectively delivering 3 types: positive, developmental and constructive. People do not improve without feedback. Little issues that arise need to be corrected along the way otherwise we end up rewarding behavior we don’t want.
If we’re going to develop people effectively and efficiently we need to be having Navigational conversations. Conversations that actually stimulate people’s thinking, help them solve their own problems, think outside the box and support ownership for their solutions.
Influential conversations mean you are able to influence others to follow even if you don’t have positional authority. As a leader, you can either use influence or demand compliance. It takes finesse to develop the art of influence. You need to get people “on board” with the direction that the organization is going. You want to engage them in a common goal or vision. You expect them to go beyond compliance and to enthusiastically embrace change.
When leaders don’t know how to communicate, the whole organization suffers and leadership is compromised. The costs are significant: low morale, de-motivated employees and exhausted managers. Incorporating the skills that develop both your leaders and their direct reports is critical to the overall success of your organization.