The methods of communication for business leaders have multiplied over the years. Some are more effective than others. For messages related to challenging changes, you want to connect with the hearts and minds of the employees. Gaining trust in the communication process is crucial. It is difficult to convince employees of the urgency for a change by distributing an email.
To get buy in and support, it is more effective to communicate by actions. What you do is visible to the employees. Your actions demonstrate commitment, which is more convincing that making repetitive announcements like a broken record. Here are six ways to lead and communicate by actions.
- Adopt the desired behaviors—nothing speaks louder than modeling the shift to the desired behaviors. If the objective of a change is to cut cost, be prepared to eliminate perks for yourself. Make it known that everyone needs to do her part, including managers and the senior management team.
- Create a receptive atmosphere—hierarchical organizations don’t provide many opportunities for employees to be heard. By making yourself accessible to those who want to share concerns and challenges via town hall meetings, emails or other means, you open up the communication channels. You also foster team spirits.
- Visit work sites—make time to be onsite so that you can have face-to-face conversations with employees. During the visits, you see first-hand the daily challenges faced by the employees. These visits need to be casual drop-ins, not meticulously planned royal visits. Regularity makes the visits more personable and sends a message that you care.
- Shorten cycle time for decision making—tedious processes for decision making kill productivity. It is also a sign of wavering leadership. When employees have to go through hoops to get approvals for moving things forward, they question the credibility of the leaders. On the contrary, employees are more motivated and positive when you have short decision-making cycle time. Get clarity on the critical factors and use them as the guiding principles for decision making.
- Make coaching available at all levels—coaching is often provided to a select few high potential employees. Many employees, regardless of their job functions, feel left out despite their sharing a similar desire to have a career path. Make coaching available to all employees, not just the stars. The inclusive practice sends a positive message that the business values all employees, an important gesture in retaining talent in the current business environment.
- Celebrate improvements—celebrate regularly to acknowledge and reward efforts that deliver improvements. Apart from recognizing desirable behaviors, you can leverage the opportunity to reinforce the business direction, encourage others to innovate and develop best practices. It is also a fun way to build camaraderie.
The above are visible actions that demonstrate sincerity and conviction. They help to accelerate the delivery of results, keeping the well beings of the employees in mind. They make a difference in fostering trust in leaders. When employees are committed to step up, they perform their best and contribute to the business’ success.