When in Doubt, Communicate

01 Nov 2015
Posted by Shira Ronen

One of my guiding principles is: “When in doubt, communicate.”

Communicating better and more leads to trust, high motivation and productive delegation. The trick to communicating better is asking open-ended questions and fully listening to the answers.

If you are a new manager and are at the early stages of learning how to delegate and lead a team, you can speed up your learning curve by communicating expectations, asking and listening.

Imagine you are giving an annual review, try asking these questions of your reports before diving into feedback:

  • “How would you like to see yourself growing in this role?”
  • “How do you view this past year? How do you think you’re doing?”

These simple questions will make the feedback conversation much easier and can allow you to tailor the feedback and focus more quickly on action items.

When you are a senior leaderthe most critical relationships are with your colleagues. Managing the 360 degrees of influence becomes more challenging when you get close to the top and there are fewer of you. The astute executive will reach out to set up 1 on 1 meetings with colleagues, allies and objectors alike to build alliances and eliminate conflict.

Imagine you are preparing to present a point of view to the CEO that you know will be controversial. Before you share it in the meeting, reach out to those that might oppose it (or be taken aback) and ask:

  • “You seemed frustrated. Can we chat about what’s going on?”
  • “I’d like to learn more about your perspective on X, do you have some time to share it with me?”
  • “Before I share this with the CEO, I’d love to hear your feedback…”

Asking these questions and fully listening to the answers will help you 1) ‘kill’ conflicts when they are small; 2) learn more about others’ perspectives, allowing you to tailor your approach and communicate more convincingly; and 3) build alliances. 

I’d love to hear how this approach works for you. Feel free to email me to share your experience.

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