Last December I released a new leadership concept called, The Goldilocks’ ‘Just Right’ Leadership Style, you can read more about it at this link. Getting leadership, “Just Right,” was probably first espoused by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in their work on Situational Leadership in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
For purposes of this article, I want to focus on a leader’s communication style and what it takes to get it “just right.”
In prepping for Month/Lesson 6 in the Leadership Communication Mastery Series last week, which focused on the importance of direct and candid communication in a work environment, I developed a communication model I think will help everyone who is leading a team, a company or even a family communicate more effectively in a way that builds trust and gets results.
Time and time again, in studying leaders one of the most important traits that shows up in the most effective leaders is not just an ability to communicate, but an ability to communicate promptly, directly and respectfully. These 3 components are vital to the success of a leader because it gets to the core of creating a high-trust environment necessary for high-performance.
I have to give credit to a colleague of mine, Libby Wagner of Professional Leadership Results, for identifying these three communication components as a real difference maker. I hope this model below takes it even further to show how important each of the three are in creating a culture of effective, and trust-building communication.
With this Venn Diagram you see there are four potential combinations and each has its benefits and its challenges:
Prompt/Respectful: This is used when the leader recognizes the issue and tries to confront the individual with a soft approach hoping they “get it.” Most times, they don’t “get it,” including the severity of the issue and the seriousness of the leader making the request for a behavior or performance adjustment. This often involves a lack of specificity and often falls into the category of “beating around the bush.”
Prompt/Direct: This often violates my leadership an workplace communication sin #6 “Lack of Appropriate Tone & Body Language.” The leader with this approach is often reacting immediately, in the moment with little emotional intelligence and as such may do so with a raised voice, pointing fingers, blaming, etc. and may also do so in an inappropriate location such as a public setting, like a meeting of peers, in a hallway or office with others around.
Direct/Respectful: This is communication that comes too late or too far down the road to be effective. The style and approach is correct and would be effective, if the leader would have communicated at the first, most appropriate time. However, this type of communication often comes weeks, sometimes months from the incident causing the recipient of the communication to become resentful and confused as to why the issue wasn’t brought to their attention sooner so they could do something about it.
Prompt/Direct/Respectful: This is “Champion Leadership Communication!” When a leader communicates applying all three of these components it will build trust between him or herself and the individuals they are leading as well as build high trust throughout the team as everyone will feel they are being held to a similar standard. All leaders should be striving for this level in their leadership communication style.
What do you think? How do you stack up? Most leaders are masters at two of the three, which pair do you gravitate towards? Where do you think you spend most of your time? Champion communicators master the complete triad, what about you?
For another powerful concept on leadership communication check out my latest tele class, Small Business Leadership: The 3 Power Beliefs of Champion Communicators, its already over but you can get access to the recording at www.LeadershipCommunicationExpert.com/3Beliefs
’til next time…make it a great week!