Use These 4 Hacks to Better Communicate With Your Team

While putting others’ needs before your own or creating a culture of accountability are key for becoming a powerful leader, your vision and goals won’t translate to reality if you aren’t able to communicate them effectively.

In fact, Sam Walker the author of The Captain Class stated in a recent interview with me on the Follow My Lead Podcast, “The best leaders are always communicating, almost to the point where it’s tiring. All of the captains of the greatest sports teams of all time were extremely effective communicators even though they weren’t always eloquent.”

Powerful communication will allow you to better connect with those you lead and inspire them to produce their best work. Here are four ways you can improve your workplace communication practices.

1. Make time for one-on-one meetings.

You should never underestimate the value of one-on-one meetings with your employees. Regularly scheduling these meetings will strengthen the relationship between you and your team by giving you an opportunity to provide personalized feedback, check in on current projects and share pertinent information.

These meetings are so valuable that I try and carve out one-on-one time with each member of my team every week. It almost never fails, the weeks I make time to give them my full undivided attention, they perform better that week. Since most of these meetings happen unscheduled instead of scheduled, there will certainly be weeks where they don’t happen. They key is to never go more than a couple weeks without making it a priority.

One of my favorite tools to leverage for one-on-one meeting is Peoplebox. Definitely worth checking out.

2. Take advantage of today’s tech options.

Studies have found, remote work has grown by 44% in the last 5 years. If this wasn’t enough, the changes in remote work due to the coronavirus will last forever. While this can make consistent communication seem like a challenge, using the many tech options available today will allow you to keep in touch.

“Even if you’re geographically distant, there are plenty of resources that allow for both one-on-one and group communication,” says Agnes Jozwiak, brand and communication director at ClickMeeting, a best in class webinar software provider. 

“For example, a webinar provides an easy way to give a live presentation to your remote employees. While there’s nothing wrong with sending an email, giving remote workers the chance to see your face and hear your voice — both in group and individual settings — will have a much greater impact and show that you care about their contribution.”

3. Ask for ways you can improve.

Laszlo Bock, former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google and current CEO of Humu, has often been cited for helping his former company’s simple yet unique method of conducting peer reviews. Rather than simply having management provide feedback for lower-level employees, Google’s management also gets feedback from junior employees on things they “should do more of and one thing they could do differently.”

If this tactic works for one of the most successful companies in the world, it should work for you, too. Soliciting feedback from your employees is a way to build trust and improve your leadership skills. Consider sending emails to your team once per quarter asking what you’re doing well and how you can improve to better help them meet their potential.

A desire to improve is a core attribute of a great leader, and it’s why LearnLoft leverages leadership assessments. Whether its as simple as an email or as in-depth as a 360°, seeking feedback from your people will help you build upon your already strong foundation. 

4. Focus on Your Body Language.

Communication doesn’t just happen through verbal or written words. A major part of communication is your body language. A study of teachers and students in the 1990s by Psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Nalini Ambady found students needed to only watch the body language of a teacher in short segments to make judgments that accurately predicted teacher end of year evaluations. They noted, “Body language is by far the most important factor and the teacher’s words barely mattered, it’s evident we communicate a great deal of information about ourselves through our body language.”

When an employee sees you and recognizes positive body language they immediately are more interested in the words you might say or they will be able to draw conclusions about what you are communicating by your body language alone.  

Becoming a master communicator doesn’t happen overnight …

It requires consistent practice as you make these communication tactics an integral part of the way you lead your team. But as you put in the effort to improve these and other skills, you will be better equipped to guide your company in the right direction and achieve your desired outcomes.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: The Proven Leadership Framework to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

5 Ways Great Leaders Create High Performing Teams

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out some professional teams are higher performing than others. Not only do high-performing teams contribute to better business outcomes, but their team members embrace the daily challenge to solve problems and achieve things together.

A team, by definition, is a group of individuals working together to achieve a goal. While the definition is simple, almost everyone has been a part of a group of individuals who weren’t working to achieve a collective goal.  

There have been many incredible studies about what makes a team successful. Including Google’s two year study that found there were five characteristics of enhanced teams, with the most important being psychological safety. While psychological safety is important, there is another common thread of all high performing teams, and it consists of two words: great leadership. 

Teams without great leadership might have periods of success, but it’s literally impossible to sustain that success without great leadership. Here are five things leaders do to help make their teams more successful:

They know they aren’t the only leader on the team.

Conventional wisdom would say the person at the top of the proverbial food chain is the only leader, but that would be wrong. In order for any team to reach heights they never thought possible, it needs leaders at every level whose behavior reflects what it means to be a leader. 

While this can be difficult to institutionalize, it starts with changing your mindset that you, in fact, aren’t the only leader. Once your heart and mind are in the right place, you have to teach others what it means to be a leader and why it’s so important they lead right where they are. 

They have quality and productive meetings.

A recent estimate suggests that employees endure a staggering 55 million meetings a day in the United States. This tremendous time investment typically yields only modest returns. In a recent interview on the Follow My Lead Podcast, Steven Rogelberg, author of the new book The Surprising Science of Meetings said, “In many ways, meetings are the building blocks and core elements of our organizations. They are the venues where the organization comes to life for employees, teams, and leaders.”

You can have quality and productive meetings by narrowing your focus on the purpose of each meeting and making sure each person attending is included in the discussion. While this can be difficult, there might be nothing more important in your business than having meetings that matter.

They focus on elevating others.

After interviewing hundreds of leaders and completing over 35,000 assessments of organizational leaders, I have come to define leadership this way:

Someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.

There are two key words here; elevate others.

If you want your team to come together and achieve a goal, it requires you focus on elevating others on a daily basis. You cannot take a hands-off approach to leadership, but instead must be involved by challenging and coaching people to elevate their performance.  

They lean into the journey.

Leading a team today is more difficult than ever because of the constant pressure from the outside to create positive results immediately. While the best leaders absolutely care about the results, they lean into the journey instead of the results. Gary Vaynerchuk who preaches the importance of this all the time said during a recent interview, “if you don’t love the process of what you’re up to, you already lost.”

Gary is right. Get your team to buy into the journey and embrace the process. The only way to do this is to celebrate the day to day work ethic and behavior rather than just the outcomes.

They create a culture of accountability.

In many ways, the hardest element of leadership is being a leader of consequence and holding people accountable. Accountability is one of these words that has been used to the point that its meaning has been a bit lost. The actual definition of accountability is, “The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.”

The best leaders don’t look at accountability as optional. You can make accountability an obligation by giving praise to your people when standards are exceeded, acknowledging people when standards are met, and giving direct feedback if your people fall short of those standards.  

A Version of this article originally appeared on Inc.com

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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author the upcoming book “Elevate Others: The New Model to Successfully Lead Today.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.