04 Aug The Five Elements Of Effective Organizational Communication
Apr 14, 2020,07:05am EDT
Andriana Eliadis Forbes Councils Member
Dr. Andriana Eliadis, Executive Education Facilitator at Cornell University, NY, USA and Director at Executive Communication USA and Europe, and at CorporateExecutiveCoach.
Nicole, a C-suite leader I was coaching in New York City, called me up one late afternoon in frustration and despair. She said, “Andriana, I have been having a rough day, and my team will not listen to me. I have told them to finish a report by today as I have to send it to our executive partner in London and they seem like they do not understand. They seem like they work for another boss! Can’t they see how hard I am working? I feel I am alone in all this! What should I do?”
Nicole’s frustration is representative of many middle- and higher-level leaders who need the support of their team to function, develop and flourish. They need their team to collaborate in order to move on, to progress, to innovate. Especially during periods of high stress, communication can be difficult, and leaders feel they are not supported nor understood. Managers assume that their people should already know what they need and how to communicate with them. Hence, what can a leader do to improve the communication schema of her team?
There are five essential elements of effective organizational communication:
• Empathy: Empathetic leadership shows your employees that you care about them. It creates strong human bonds as one tries to step into the shoes of the other, to comprehend their feelings, thoughts and perspectives and subsequently use that understanding to guide future actions. Make a conscious effort to step into other people’s shoes.
• Positive communication: Being a positive leader is also essential to organizational communication. The words and language leaders use are crucial to fostering an effective communication channel. Phrase your messages in a positive way.
In my experience, if you have a positive mindset, employees will listen rather than resist. Also, the human brain is more likely to be open and more engaged in receiving feedback when there is positive reinforcement. For example, instead of saying, “You should not multitask when you are talking to a client!” change it to, “Make sure that when a client approaches you, you smile and give him your full attention.”
• Clarity: When a leader sends a message to her people, the message has to be clear and specific. The leader has to have a clear goal, clear steps and a transparent methodology which is attainable. When the leader empowers the employee to create the process for a specific goal or outcome, then the leader has to facilitate the strategy with the employee and be supportive along the way. Clarity is the key here.
• Assertiveness: Assertiveness is an effective way to gain trustworthiness and improve your communication with your people. When you are assertive, you express your thoughts and feelings clearly and directly without judging others. Assertive behavior is direct, clear and respectful. It is essential that your employee feels heard and considered. Always concentrate on the tasks and not on people’s personalities. Do not demonstrate direct aggression, like anger and defensiveness, and do not overreact and try to formulate a path forward. Never place blame.
• Self-reflection: Devote three to five minutes every other day to self-reflection. This will help calm your mind and body, it will reduce distractions, clear your mental space and it will help you connect with your deeper, positive mind.
Think of something someone did or said recently that helped or made you happy and something that bothered or upset you. Find an opportunity to simply thank that person. If something bothered you, think, “Whom should I have a conversation with and about what?”
Leaders who are empathetic, positive, assertive, communicate clearly and devote time to their self-reflection will have a better chance at developing an effective communication schema and environment within their organization.
Nicole eventually was able to grasp the bigger picture of her team’s dynamics. She achieved effective communication within her team when she was able to widen her perspective and alter it when necessary. When she stopped making assumptions and put herself in other’s shoes, she had a better “balcony view” of her team and herself and created a more productive and humane communication culture.