Poor leadership communication: The elephant in the room trampling on culture.
I ran into an old friend the other week who I hadn't seen for awhile. A highly regarded Partnership Manager working in a challenging industry, she has seen and "lived" many changes over time.
As many large organisations do, her organisation is in the middle of a major restructure. I asked her how it was all going. Frustrated, she said morale was poor amongst the teams, and she feared many good employees would "walk" after the dust settled.
What factors drove this comment?
Communication throughout the change period to employees was badly managed (an absolutely no brainer for creating disengagement) and also:
The leaders themselves communicated poorly with each other as well.
If leaders, coaches, executives or board members can't communicate effectively and decisively amongst themselves, what hope has the organisation's culture got?
No matter what industry you work in, effective communication amongst leaders has never been as vital a tool to drive long term business and customer performance as now.
Leaders who resist developing self awareness
and adapting their behaviour will over time
cost their organisations talent and revenue.
In our rapidly changing global and digital society, our affinity with technology can make the world can look pretty superficial at times. Fake versus real news, celebrity worship and spin, have all driven people to increasingly seek greater purpose in themselves and others.
Employees want to work for leaders who display honesty and transparent communication not only throughout the organisation, but with each other. This in turn drives a backbone of trust and loyalty. *
Poor communication amongst leadership/board
and or coaching groups undoubtedly contributes to a negative
overall organisational culture
Much research has clearly shown the negative business effect when leaders fail to communicate well:
Higher rates of employee turnover,
Poorer team productivity
and Reduced client service
are the manifestation of organisations failing to prioritise a focus on all aspects of the values and behaviours communication cycle.** Importantly, the ability to collaborate and solve complex business and on-field problems is hindered when leaders bring bias and cannot manage non helpful traits such as arrogance and hyper-control.
Remember the term "lead by example"
and "walk the talk" ??
Let's be a little frank here....
Leaders who can't communicate well with their own peers do so for one or more of the following reasons:
They don't see the value for the business/fans/clients/employees (and themselves) in working to develop their skills in articulating and regulating their emotions.
They lack the emotional and cultural intelligence to adopt better communication practices.
Their ego or insecurity is driving their actions.
They haven't been made clearly accountable for the behaviours they demonstrate at work, or otherwise. eg They have basically got away with non productive communication throughout their working life.
There is a level of fear and/or avoidance in some organisations
when it comes to addressing coach and/or leadership
and board communication issues. No one really wants
to own the problem or call out the culprits for fear of reprisals.
A bandaid one-off training course won't work.
That's where a good experienced external Consultant is like gold.
They will identify and read the play easily and can be more honest and bold in feedback. *** They can provide personalised ongoing mentoring and coaching, plus mediation and facilitation.
A proper program of leadership education and development, focusing on self-awareness, empathy and values during the communication process as well as the correct processes and methods to inform and discuss can reap great results for culture and engagement.
Contact Lexie here if you would like some assistance to develop your leader's communication and collaboration skills. Your customers, culture, engagement and business will all benefit.
* *Connecting Organizational Communication to Financial Performance – 2003/2004 Communication ROI Study" (2003). Watson Wyatt & Company, 3 November 2003
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