Have you noticed how some organizations are more innovative than others? How they seamlessly adapt to changing market conditions, meet competition head-on, and remain profitable throughout? These companies have leaders who know how to empower employees to take ownership. Every part of the business benefits from people who are engaged with the future vision, and are constantly seeking ways to improve themselves, their team, products and the business.
The question is, how do you get your people excited about the future? How do you empower them in their work, and create the energy and enthusiasm that will help them excel toward their personal goals, and your organization toward its business goals?
In this article, we discuss the communication skills that inspirational leaders use to empower their employees to take ownership – the bedrock of continuing success.
Know yourself first to know how to communicate with employees
Self-awareness is essential to being a good communicator. It enables you to accept shortcomings and improve them, and helps you to gauge and control your reactions toward different circumstances and people.
Self-awareness and self-control are imperative to being a good communicator. You’ll have the ability to take control of disagreements, negotiate positive outcomes, and carefront instead of confront when addressing a difficult breakdown in communication. All these communication abilities are essential when you want to motivate your people to ownership of their daily tasks and align them with organizational strategic vision.
Know how to listen
If you don’t know what motivates your people, how can you expect to engender ownership?
Learn to listen to what is being said. Poor communicators give false meaning to the words spoken to them. Don’t be afraid to ask for confirmation, and always place the emphasis on the other person.
Most managers are awful listeners. Instead of using one-on-one time to get to know an employee, they use it to reinforce instructions. Listen to objections and concerns, and deal with them.
Learn to spot (and control) nonverbal clues
Energy speaks. The difference between verbal and nonverbal communication is important to learn. In stressful situations, it is possible to incorrectly read nonverbal communication signals. Such understanding is predominantly a result of a lack of emotional intelligence.
Developing emotional intelligence will help you control the false nonverbal signals you give when under pressure, too. Various studies have shown that more than half of communication meaning is conveyed by body language. When you fully understand nonverbal communication, you will be able to portray the meaning of your words more effectively, as well as recognize clues to how others are really feeling behind the hidden façade of their words.
Concise communication is key to getting your message across. Leaders with the ability to get their point across quickly and concisely keep their employees focused. The message is delivered without being lost in a fog of unnecessary words. This goes for written communication, too. When communicating, less is definitely more.
Use effective narratives
People respond to stories to which they can relate. A barrage of facts and figures quickly loses your audience. Find and use effective narratives to accentuate important messages. Stories give meaning to vision. Consider ‘what if’ scenarios, success stories, and encourage discussion about the effects of doing nothing and retaining the status quo.
Welcome feedback in an open forum
People need to know that their views are being listened to, and that action is being taken. Encourage an environment of openness and honesty. Let people know that you welcome their input and their ideas. Show that you trust them. Be willing to discuss business strategy, and help your people see how they fit into business planning.
Tips to improve empowerment
Having the above communication skills will not be enough if you don’t use them. Here are some tips to improve empowerment of your employees, using communication skills to do so:
Instead of instructing, ask questions
Allow your people the opportunity to figure out for themselves the best and most appropriate course of action.
No matter how small, recognize improvement when it is made.
Be concise and clear with feedback
Let your employees know how they are performing, and encourage them to do more of what they are doing right.
Tackle mistakes the right way
We all make mistakes. When you need to discuss mistakes, do so gently. Let your people know that mistakes happen by recalling the time something similar happened to you. Be specific about what went wrong, and encourage the employee to do better next time.
Everyone develops at a different pace. People have their own personal (and professional) issues with which they are dealing. Be considerate of this, and get to know your people. Learn what makes them tick. Be honest, and simultaneously be considerate.
Do you want to embed excellence in your communication skills? Contact Forward Focus today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed effective interpersonal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers, and employees.