Copyright TIGERS Success Series

By Dianne Crampton

Recently, I traveled overseas for a three week tour, so I had to think a lot about what to take and what to leave behind to make my baggage efficient and easy to handle.

We can identify parallels as we move into the New Year. The New Year is a natural time to assess what has worked well and what could be better, and discard old ways of doing things that have not produced effective results.

As leaders, this type of self-analysis involves taking a hard look at your leadership effectiveness. For example, is your communication effective resulting in clarity and consistency for the employees you lead? In this consistency, are you building and improving your team’s trust and cooperation?

It is often difficult to be responsive, clear and consistent in your leadership approach when competing demands are pulling you in multiple directions. Therefore, going into the new year is a good time to assess your leadership effectiveness and set  goals for your personal and professional development.

There are thee goals to take into 2012:

  1. Consistency
  2. Coaching
  3. Communication

Consistency

Consistency involves establishing clear expectations and following through on them.  It’s behaving in alignment with your organization’s values as well as your own and behaving in a steady manner. It’s also keeping promises or renegotiating them if you can’t keep them in a straight forward way.

Often leaders struggle to maintain a stable personal attitude and response to others depending on what is happening around them. Triggered by stress and confusion on how to lead – given that a high percentage of leaders are placed in management positions without training – personal attitudes can be down one day and up the next. Reponses follow these attitudes resulting in a roller coaster emotional team environment. The inconsistency often results in diminished trust for the leader and uncertainty for employees.

Because of the roller coaster, it becomes difficult to keep promises and follow through on activities that others are expecting.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when evaluating your own consistency:

1. Have you let your team down in the past year?

2. Have you retreated into busywork resulting in weakened relationships because team members couldn’t count on you?

3. Do your words match your actions over time and do you renegotiate your promises if circumstances change?

4. Do you demonstrate your values and the values of your organization? How do you know?

5. Do you get impatient, upset or unpredictable in your communications with others?

6. If there is one thing you could do to improve your consistency, what would it be?

Coaching 

Coaching is a primary tool you have for aligning the values of your culture with the values of your team members.  It is also a primary way to motivate your team members and help them feel that they are learning, developing and becoming more successful.  If done early in the year, it can build trust and creates a learning culture within your team or organization.

Many employees claim that they don’t receive coaching at work.  As a results, their work confidence is often low resulting in hesitation and fewer timely goals being accomplished. This effects productivity. However, the more effective your become as a coach, the more your efforts impact improved productivity. which is measurable and raises your leadership value to your organization.  

To give your employees real feedback requires observation, preparation and follow up.

It make you more effective as a leader and gives your employees the confidence they need to try new things — trusting you have their back by constructively helping them be more successful.

Communication

Leaders work everyday with team members and others who have different opinions, values, beliefs, and needs than they do. The ability to exchange ideas with others, understand others’ perspectives, solve problems and successfully resolve misunderstandings depends on how effectively we are able to communicate.

The act of communicating involves verbal, nonverbal, and paraverbal components. The verbal component refers to the content of our message and includes the choice and arrangement of our words. The nonverbal component refers to the message we send through our body language. The paraverbal component refers to how we say what we say – the tone, pacing and volume of our voices.

Based on team member learning and communication styles, team members often hear things differently.  They process information differently. Without a clear understanding of what team members need for communication to be effective for them, projects and assignments frequently go off track.

In order to communicate effectively, we need some understanding about the communication styles of others and we must use all three of the components listed above to do two things:

1. Send clear, concise messages.

2. Hear and correctly understand messages someone is sending to us.

When leaders master communications they find that their projects run on schedule and team members are responsible and accountable for contributing to project success.

In all of our communications we want to strive to send consistent verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal messages. When our messages are inconsistent, team members may become confused or mistrusting.  This impacts both skill performance and team relationships.

The TIGERS self paced e-Book, Melting Your Stress within 30 Days is a great way to determine if stress is impacting your consistency, communication and coaching effectiveness.  What goals have you established  for your leadership team development improvements this year?

Photo Credit: Dianne Crampton