Open Conversations – A Leadership Communication Gift

Open Conversations – A Leadership Communication GiftA recent Interact/Harris Poll indicated that almost 91 % of employees in the US opined that the biggest issue with top tier executives was their inability to connect with people. The primary cause for the communication disconnect was poor emotional intelligence among business leaders, which resulted in lack of empathy and shallow vision.

If you were to plot the communication patterns of a leader, you would find that they address a lot more than communicate. They just deliver speeches tailor- made to the situation and not the audience. As businesses undergo multiple structural changes, frequent reorganization followed by the usual chaos, the result of one way communication is often disgruntled employees.

Leaders often claim to be “having a conversation” with their team or putting efforts to “advance the conversation” with their stakeholders as a reason for their success. This helps us draw the conclusion that open conversations are the biggest gift that leaders can give their people in an organisation.

Instruments for assessing behavioural priorities of their leaders , is what businesses need to invest in, so that their top tier executives can gain insights into how to emotionally connect with their people. The DISC personality tests classifies leadership behaviour into four – Dominant, Influencer, Steady, Conscientious and provides strategies for leaders to flex their communication styles as they synergise with each personality type. That is what will open up organisational dialogues.

As the focus on engagement increases, ingenious leaders realise that one to one conversations go a long way in building trust, than just a series of orders. In this technologically enabled world, a lot of leaders connect to their employees virtually or on social media giving them the impression of emotional or mental proximity. This overcomes the disadvantages that large businesses face because of their size. The connect builds immense possibilities through proper visioning, strategic alignment and streamlined execution – in tandem with the framework that DiSC Work of Leaders sets for leadership effectiveness – Vision, Alignment and Execution.

Duke Energy, the President & CEO of Lynn Goods believes in fostering a culture of open appreciation and to lead by example sticks “thank You” notes in employee cubicles. Vishal Sikka , CEO , Infosys Technologies, surprised a lot of his tier -2 employees when he called them by their first names. Simple rituals and personalised feedback goes a long way in boosting employee morale, bringing down distances—organisational, attitudinal, and spatial . Gestures like these click, because they convey the message that leaders are mere mortals just like the rest of the crowd.

Conversation is incomplete without listening. Knowing that listening is important and having the ability to listen are two different things. Most of us agree to the former, but fail to cultivate the latter. True leaders are the ones who realise the long term impact of devoting five minutes of their time to listen to what an employee has to say. DiSC Personal Listening Profile helps a leader to identify his natural listening style and adapt it to the speaker’s style thereby honing the ability to listen.

Conversation not just means openness. It should also mean camaraderie. Employees should be able to talk to their leaders with the same ease with which they interact with colleagues. This would ensure that there is transparency in communication. Thus through Everything DiSC, leadership communication turns into an art – synchronised, warm and trustworthy , fostering a culture of organisational conversations.

Sonia Kapur

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