Framing Leadership Communication For Clarity
Communication is such a buzz word that it is losing clarity as well. This week’s series provides some framework ideas to shore up communications when clarity is needed. Although communication comes up in almost every employee satisfaction survey, I have yet to see a whole lot of concrete work to improve it. This series is particularly geared to those leaders bridge communication gaps with critical clients and customers, where the power in the relationship is more balanced. This by the way removes an oft used crutch of power to push an agenda onto others, even if it is unintentional.
We’re kicking this off with a free practice to ground you in your own communication style and how you relate to concrete, instructional-type communications. This is not abstract but actually taking you to the extreme of clear communcation to induce a specific response. In watching this very closely, you will be laying a strong foundation for the rest of the series this week.
We start by looking at 3 elements:
- Getting curious about reactions
- Rules as control or safety?
- Comfort when disoriented
With additional, practical awareness around communication over the next few weeks, it will support building your own scaffold to have clearer communications. Get started now and download your free copy of the practice to get all the insights and benefits.
This isn’t to say that you aren’t a good communicator but perhaps things are stalling a bit with key communications and information you are trying to get across. Small adjustments to your style of communication could be what break things loose. It is easy to give the instuct to adjust a style but actually enacting takes a bit more effort.
Let’s start with 3 key ideas to help ground your efforts:
- Does your style work best to add time together?
- Communication favoring clarity over connection
- Is your pattern bias a hinderance in the current situation?
Communication is such a vast topic that adjusting your style is too broad to be useful. By looking whether you have a connection bias in your leadership communications can help you determine if an adjustment toward clarity would help.
If you find that your bias is toward clarity, in this particular situation you may have skipped over some needed connection before the other party can actually absorb your clear and direct messaging.
Reassing in this way could help you establish the next set of boundaries and framework so things can progress.
Since communication is such a vast topic, looking deeply at certain aspects can be quite helpful. In general, this week we’re examining the balance between verbal and non-verbal communication in creating alignment to your idea or position. If you’re a leader who builds and utilizes connection and rapport, this might be the style problem getting in the way at times.
So let’s break this down into some workable, but deeper concepts.
In many instances, I agree that it feels like overcommunication is necessary to reach people and organizations. There are times when you are tired of saying the same thing and then suddenly alignment happens. Your message is understood and acted upon.
If you have had success with this technique, then you are likely to use it more often. As a leader, you also understand that simple solutions are best but not if they are trying to solve the wrong problem. In this case, let’s make sure that the problem overcommunication typically solves is the one you are facing now. Overcommunication facilities building a shift in beliefs by deomonstrating YOUR conviction in the message. This in turn, generally builds trust over time for people to invest in the process of orienting themselves toward your message.
So the connection between other peoples trust in you and THEIR belief that if YOU have conviction so they will trust you is central to the overcommunication approach. They might need fundamental understanding to align to your message. If people are lost in what you are saying or cannot grasp what you are trying to get across, they may grant trust through sound logic instead. This can be especially true with people who do not have a long or strong relationship with you.
The verbal component of communication is actually quite limiting in delivering and receiving messages for people. The non-verbal components communicate much more; something like 85%. If you are a leader who builds rapport through communicating and interacting, then much of your rapport is built non-verbally. This also can tend to build a style of anchor relationships through rapport, which is very potent for leaders.
If alignment toward your message has stalled and you pour more into building rapport with little or negative results, check and see if you where you dropped your relationship anchor is really where people need it to be to follow.
There are plenty of situations and people who will not follow or align to charisma. In fact, personal histories of the people your are communicating with combined with the message you are delivering could trigger then to be skeptical of charismatic leaders. This can be especially true if trust was violated in the past. So more of the same here will need a lot more relationship ground work to be effective. Alternatively, as mentioned above, anchoring in logic, process, or agreed measures may be needed alongside toning down the rapport emphasis.
Relative Orientation To Limits And Possibilities
The last piece we’ll consider here is that people uniquely orient to limits and possibilities according to their perception of the present and their past which built their current perceptions. That can be a lot to take in. As some point as leaders we all run into the relative and unique nature of people’s perception of what we are leading them to. Many leaders draw on positional power to solve the alignment issues in this regard. This is becoming less useful as cultural norms in the West or less reliant on social conformity and respect of authority.
You still need alignment so what to do. Awareness, recognition and investing your time into helping people sort out their own resistance will go a long way. This is anchoring in a solid objective to remove blocks that people have rather than overpowering them with positional force or charisma. This does take time but your recognition that people need different amounts of limit setting and exploration of possibilities will pay dividends.
At Your Leadership Edge?
In recognizing where to work and reading this, have these ideas started to resonate? Well, there is a good chance that you are ready to grow in a new dimension of your leadership. There is a dual problem experienced by most people at their developmental edge: time and direction. You have in the past and will again advance your developmental edge with enough time invested figuring out what it means, what to do and how to shift your understanding to handle more. However, engaging a professional coach can shorten and deepen this effort for your benefit. Try it out for 30 days, risk-free with me by clicking here.
At first blush, boundaryless seems like a positive aspect to a leader since it implies an action oriented problem solver. No doubt, this is quite valuable. Where it can into problems is negotiating and leading others who need specifics. To help this boundaryless leader standing your ground to work through specific bounds and limits might have to be front and center. At some point, we all need to execute and that inherently puts specifics into focus. You can help yourself and this leader with the following:
- Ask for bounds
- Frame how you want to be interacted with
- Ask for what they see as the biggest limit and why
Applying this at the point when details start to matter should help your boundaryless leader transition from concept and into action.
Hopefully by this point you have some ideas to work with. Your leadership style likely inspires others and certainly the ability to work past limits is hugely beneficial. Here is a second, free practice to help build your range of communication.
The whole idea here is working with the notion that interaction will be the dominate method to carry your message. From there, you’ll be working with limits but still utilize your style, just from another angle. Preserving the energy and edge you have with your style of communication is important. This free practice will help you explore what happens when you adjust slightly and shift the focus for the other person while preserving your ability to see around problems. Download your free copy by clicking here and try it out for the next 2 weeks.
All my best,
Russell Lindquist, Founder & Principal
Russell is a Certified Integral Professional Coach™. I help leaders and entrepreneurs break through plateaus, earn more respect and move on to their next level of success. 80% of my clients take on more responsibility with less stress, more success, and half of them get a promotion or earn more money within 6 months of completing their program. www.tessagen.com