Goals are a daily fact of life, both personally and professionally. Ensuring that goals are given well and then understood will lead to higher productivity and engagement of them. How can you, as a manager, know that you were clear when conveying them?
- employees get down to business and work easily
- employees are happily doing their work
- you are asked less questions or have to put out fires
- goals are achieved and on time
While giving goals seems like a no-brainier, I often find confusion around them. Just because a goal is conveyed does not mean it was received in the same way. I remember an exercise I did, in one of the graduate classes I taught, where I put a word on the board and had each student come up and write their interpretation; out of 20 students, only two had the same meaning.
This shows that each of us will interpret what we hear in a different manner. In the workplace, that can equate to doing the work as we believe it should be done, which is not necessarily always the same as what the organization wants done. This can lead to frustration for both the manager and the worker, and can lead to a delay in the project, costing both time and money.
Leaders need to be high in their communication skills at all times:
- listening more than talking
- ensuring that the words are appropriate for the audience
- recognizing that each individual will learn differently (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
- gaining clarity on what was heard by each party, ala mirroring
- reframing, as needed, to give more clarification
- being patient – some individuals speak more slowly than others, or very fast, which can confuse the message
- taking a ‘pause’ before speaking, especially in a difficult situation
- watching body language, which accounts for 57% of our communication
- watching tone of voice, which accounts for 38% of our communication
Your communication, as a leader, should be clear and effective and is a necessary skill to getting more out of your people. It will ensure that work goals are understood and acted upon. Communication is a skill that needs nurtured daily – as they say, practice makes perfect.
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