Do You Lead Your Team By “Age”, By “Stage” Or By The Seat of Your Pants?

Do You Lead Your Team By “Age”, By “Stage” Or By The Seat of Your Pants?

 

By Paula Morand

How can your corporate leadership style fit everyone in your group when your employee base ranges from wired-in-20-somethings fresh out of school to seasoned professionals with decades in your industry?

No doubt your organization benefits from this range of talents, but keeping them all connected and motivated can be a monumental challenge. You can’t even generalize all that much because the range of personal communication styles and work preferences in each age group today tends to fluctuate wildly.

So how can you as a leader get across the priorities of the day to such a wide base and keep the full team moving in sync, motivated and on target? Why not try this radical approach: meet your workforce at the “stage” they’re at, not the “age” on their driver’s license?

Let’s look first at communication. Technology rules the day regardless of what you may personally prefer, so it’s time as a leader to fully embrace all the systems you have at your fingertips. The “age” of your employees is not as important as the “stage” of technology each of them have embraced. Become the kind of leader who is equally comfortable using a combination of types of messaging, but ensure that each message conveys the same order of priorities and clear expectations.

This approach might call for duplication of effort, and some rather creative crafting, but think of the benefits. Anyone who likes bite-size 140-character missives is happy to hear from you. Those who like a full email message to refer to and respond to also get what they want. Internal message blasts or succinct posts to your intranet – yes, they got it!

In other words, post where people see it, using a range of media options so everyone feels connected. Just keep it consistent, timely and responsive. Maybe this creative approach is not your thing? Then assign a communication specialist to help you with crafting, posting and tracking interaction because communication today goes both ways. Be prepared to react to feedback immediately.

So the message is out but what’s next? How about motivation? As you probably know already, what’s appealing to the 20-somethings, mid-careers, and your mature workforce can be as different as night and day. Then you find out that not every 20-something is like their peers, and mature employees aren’t all about retirement dreams and exit strategies.

When it comes to motivation, everyone seems to click to different things. So again my advice is to think less about “age” and more about “stage”. The “stage” someone is in at work reflects their state of mind and their stage tells you more than their birth date ever could.

If someone is building career skills in a specific area, they will be motivated by opportunities to grow and ways to learn more. If someone is settling down in their personal life, regardless of their age, they’ll appreciate perks that work for their new lifestyle and which allow them sufficient time with their partner and to enjoy a satisfying personal life.

For people who have committed 10 or more years to your group, regardless of their age, many of them are at the “stage” where they are looking for upward mobility and ways to gain position and prestige. If you don’t offer enough progress for them, they’ll look elsewhere, and they’ll soon be looking at you and your company through their rear-view mirror.

The solution is to develop motivational strategies to meet your valuable employee assets at the “stage” they are at. Offer incentives that are geared to motivate them at the current point they are at in their career or lifestyle, and build on what works best.

Anyone might love an á-la-carte benefits list, flexible time-off, or remote work options but they do so for very different reasons. Perhaps they’ve got their eye on a mission trip overseas before their 30th birthday. Or they need a little extra time off each month to take care of an aging parent or a spouse going through cancer. Might be that they share childcare duties with a spouse on shift-work and coming in at 9:30 a.m. improves their life drastically, keeping them very highly motivated.

In summary, today’s technology and lifestyle choices have trumped the demographic divide so it’s time to ensure your leadership style meets the stages your employees are at, and doesn’t just program to the years spent on this earth.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Paula_Morand/2301858

Ways to Improve Business Communication

Ways to Improve Business Communication

 

By Ralph Waldo

Effective communication is very important to run a business successfully. Good communication can endear you among your clients, increase your brand image among your seniors, and cause you to be admired among those work under you. It can also help you in taking your business to the next level and earn you high profits. On the other hand, poor communication can limit the efficiency of your company. It may result in missing vital business deadlines, duplicity in work processes, and most importantly can suffer employee morale. According to a study conducted by Global English reveals, “97% of employees surveyed believe that poor communication as a result of inadequate business language skills can create misunderstanding”.

Often, there is a lot of disconnect in the communication process, which can prove very costly to a business. It may be verbal misinterpretations, lack of interaction, lost emails and unclear texts or poorly-worded messages. Effective communication – both internal and external, increase organization’s effectiveness, enables smooth operations and helps in reducing business contingencies. Communication is generally of two types – Digital and Interpersonal. Here are some useful tips to improve these two, that can benefit your organization and keep the things sailing smoothly.

Digital Communication: Most of the business communication is usually done using digital medium, like email. Writing email or text messages is easy when we are done with a friend. The target audience in business are corporate stakeholders, so it’s always better to be formal. Even a minor mistake in your written communication could negatively impact your credibility. It can result in loss of reputation and business as well. Below are the basic points you should follow while drafting a business proposal, email or other business letters:

  • Always treat emails like the real mails, not just the digital letters. While drafting an email, use powerful words, develop a natural voice, work toward your aim and present a clear deadline.
  • Craft the email carefully. Go back, check and edit for more clarity. Polish each and every sentence to keep the communication straight, positive and effective.
  • Don’t put any wrong or unclear information. Check your facts before sending the mail. Any wrong information makes you look like that you haven’t done your homework.
  • Don’t use any Emoticons, Colloquialisms and Slang, it may result in loss of translation and the person reading your mail may not understand what you are talking about. Keep it simple and to the point.
  • Choose the best subject line for your message. The subject line is the first introduction to the content of the message to the recipients’. Also, it helps in keeping your message out of spam box.
  • And, the most important is to archive all your business communication. Create folders to save all the old emails. It will help you in finding any communication easily in the future.

Interpersonal Communication: It is a face-to-face communication and involves exchanging information and the meaning via verbal and non-verbal messages. Sometimes, an email or a text just isn’t sufficient. Digital communication doesn’t involve any direct communication. Nobody sees you how your writing, but when you meet someone face-to-face, many things matter, such as your tone, body language and eye contact. Your message should be clear, concise and direct to the point. Add below mentioned tips in your interpersonal communication to make it meaningful:

  • Be confident while meeting your clients or superiors and don’t feel shy in person-to-person meetings. Maintain a proper eye contact to make a good impression.
  • Listen carefully and give your complete attention to the conversation. Understand what the opposite person is saying and then give your own thoughts.
  • Focus on your speech. Think before you speak and don’t get confused with your own words. Doing this, will dilute the purpose of face-to-face meeting.
  • Keep the communication professional, and avoid making it too personal. It’s good to befriend with people you are working, but don’t make it too friendly.
  • Never counter the opinion of your client, even if you disagree. It may offend them. Listen to them attentively, then keep your viewpoint and explain why you disagree with them. But, ensure to maintain a polite tone.
  • Ask questions to clear all your doubts and concerns. It will also help in holding the conversation and will generate new ideas that would be helpful in business.

These were the few suggestions, you can implement in your communication strategy and make it effective. Following these, will not only improve your business performance, but also personal improvements you make in your own life. It will also help boost your self-esteem and decision making and also make you stand out of the crowd. Effective communication is always about comprehending the other individual, not about forcing your opinions on others and winning an argument.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ralph_Waldo/2257227

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

By Patrick Smyth

After a long flight to Tokyo Japan, the sight of two thousand people in the audience for keynote speech at the technology conference was impressive. The presentation moved along slowly as frequent pauses enabled the interpreter to convert the original English spoken and written on the slides into Japanese. After twenty minutes or so, it appeared that two thousand heads were resting on their shoulders as the entire audience had fallen asleep. The interpreter insisted they were listening and not sleeping, so please to continue. After all the effort and time to prepare and travel halfway around the world only to meet a sleeping audience, the last thirty minutes of the talk were sheer drudgery.

How you participate in meetings has a direct effect on the motivation and level of engagement by other people in the meeting. Technology has become an excuse to continue whatever you were doing outside of the meeting, while the meeting is in progress. A prospective customer does not want to stare at the back of your laptop screen and watch you type away while they are attempting to build a relationship with you. You can try to justify this laptop behavior by suggesting that you rely on the laptop to take notes during the meeting. The problem is your notes do not impress the people on the other side of the table.

Smart phones are equally offensive. Yes, you hold the phone below the table and cast your eyes downward to read it. Somehow, you believe the other people in the room don’t notice that you are busy tapping away at the small screen in front of you and not engaging in a conversation with them. All they see is someone who appears to be focusing on something other than the most important people and conversation in the room. Your behavior suggests to them that whatever is going on in front of you is far more important than they are. Clearly, that’s a serious mistake.

The first good step to active participation is assuring that you remove distractions, such as those from laptops and smart phones, from the conversation. Of course, active participation reaches far beyond simply removing distractions. Focus your attention on the other party or parties in the meeting. Ask insightful questions to demonstrate your interest in them and their business needs. Acknowledge the key points they are making to encourage them to continue sharing. Ask for clarification if they say anything that might seem slightly ambiguous or unclear. If you are delivering a presentation in a meeting, make sure the audience is following along and getting the key points you are communicating.

Avoid talking incessantly to show how much you know. All that does is confirm that you are not listening and that your focus is on yourself. Launching into an endless scripted speech without engaging the audience with questions and clarifications will certainly turn them off. Watch their body language for signs that they are reacting to what you are saying and use those as cues to expound further or ask questions. The more you demonstrate your care about their success, the more they will learn to respect and trust you. Active participation builds trust, which in turn builds solid relationships.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Patrick_Smyth/33422

Communication Matters

Communication Matters

By Judith Lindenberger |

As a human resources consultant, I have conducted many employee surveys over the years to ascertain what employees like about their workplaces and what they think needs to be changed. In many cases, one of the key recommendations from employees to make the workplace better is “provide better communication.”

What do employees want to know about? They want to know before a change occurs that it is coming. They want to know why the change is happening. And most of all, they want to know how it will affect them. If you can get ahead of your communications efforts by providing answers to these questions, your employees will be less stressed, more productive, and your change efforts will be more successful.

According to A Manager’s Guide to Communicating with Employees, “from a communications perspective, employees feel appreciated and valued when:

– they are the first to hear important news

– they are regularly consulted

– they are listened to

– their suggestions are acted upon.”

Some of the best ways I have found to communicate with employees are as follows:

  1. Send mass emails for communicating information that is timely such as an office closing due to bad weather.
  2. Conduct regular staff meetings to discuss department news, delegate work, and share information from senior management.
  3. Conduct regular Town Hall meetings, hosted by senior leaders, to provide high-level information about upcoming events or give status updates. Anticipate and welcome questions from your audience.
  4. Encourage employees to let you know what’s not working and offer their suggestions for improvement. Create a culture where open communication – the good, the bad and the ugly – is sanctioned.
  5. Provide a suggestion box and reward good ideas. Let employees know that suggestions need to be positive, respectful of others, and doable. For example, “Fire my manager” is not an appropriate use of a suggestion box.
  6. Walk around the office and be available for spontaneous conversations.
  7. Meet regularly with employees, one on one, to discuss their performance.
  8. Conduct fun teambuilding exercises and meeting ice-breakers for employees to get to know one another.

Finally, to be a good communicator, make sure that you have been heard. Ask questions to learn if your message has gotten through to your audience. As George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

I am curious… what are your best ideas for effective workplace communication?

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Judith_Lindenberger/2286146

How Do I Communicate Better With People at a Distance?

By Kevin Eikenberry November, 2015

image_8-communication-barriers-business

How Do I Communicate Better With People at a Distance?

The saying goes; absence makes the heart grow fonder.

While that may be true in some cases, another old saying is also true:

Out of sight, out of mind.

Both hold shades of truth for any of us wanting to communicate more effectively with people when we are separated by space. More often though, the second holds more truth at work than does the first.

If you are in business today, you likely deal with this situation at least occasionally. But most of us deal with it every day. This situation is; Communicating with customers or prospects, Communicating with vendors, Communicating with colleagues on projects, or, Communicating with people we lead who don’t live nearby.

In a simpler time, the communication options at our disposal were few, and the number of these situations relatively rare.

Not true today – and more tools haven’t exactly made it easier. I can’t “solve” this challenge for you in one short article; but what I can do is give you five things to think about that will help when you apply them, and as you will see tools are only part of the solution.

 

Talk About It

While it might not seem necessary to talk about how we will talk with someone, we know that communicating at a distance creates challenges. That means we might need to do things differently. Talk to people about how they best like to communicate, what is helpful to them, what times of the day work best for them and more. When you create some understanding and agreements about your communication, you have taken a big step towards improving it for a long time to come.

 

Pick Your Tools Wisely

It’s harder than it used to be because there are so many choices. Are you going to call or email? Are you going to Skype, Facetime or Hangout? Or maybe you will Text, IM, Yammer, or Slack? You might use the conference line or WebEx or GotoMeeting? Are you going to use video or not? Is a voice mail helpful or not? How about a business line or cell phone?

 

Whew!

Think about the tools you have at your disposal and talk about which ones you are going to use. And then, whichever ones you select, make sure that both parties (or all parties) are comfortable with using these tools. This is a level of complexity we never had to consider when we would just walk down the hall and all we had was a land line. Make sure whatever tools you use will be successful.

 

Pick Your Tools Situationally

And it isn’t just about the tools themselves, it is about using them at the right times for the right purposes. There are times when a text message may meet the communication need. And yet, it can’t be the only tool in your bag. Emails are great for many things, but aren’t good for a conversation – after two or three emails in a thread, pick up the phone. Since we aren’t able to be face to face, video can be the next best thing – use it when talking about complex or challenging issues. Own several different hammers. Pick the right one for the task, and that is what you need to do as a communicator as well.

 

Make Time

If you want your remote communication to be more effective, you must invest the time for it. Because it is more complex, you can’t just take it for granted or just let it happen. If you want to have effective communication with people you must communicate with them, and when you don’t see people in the parking lot, at the coffee pot or in the hallway, you have to make the time for those conversations. This leads to the fifth point.

 

Plan Time

As a leader, you might see this idea as putting some time on the calendar for “one-on-ones” with your remote folks. This is a good idea, but I mean more than that. First, it doesn’t just apply to leaders – if you are a co-worker at a distance, put time on the calendar with folks. When you do that you make the conversation intentional, you make sure it happens, and you fundamentally change your relationship with the other person. They know you care enough to put the time on your calendar. Don’t underestimate the emotional value of that.

 

Looping back to the first point above, make sure that the times you set make sense on your agreements about frequency and time of day. It is one thing to just get on someone’s calendar; it is another when you force it to work on your schedule and timeline.

 

If you are a leader of a team where some (or all) of those team members are remote from you, we have a range of ways to help you improve your effectiveness. You can learn more about those services here.

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kevin_Eikenberry/373