As a leader, of course you seek to engage employees so they're motivated to do their best work.
So you're well aware of the importance of communicating, After all, you spend the whole day in meetings: one-on-one sessions, team meetings, large-group conferences. So it seems you're always in front of the people who work for you.
But if you analyze who you spend time with, you'd realize that you're visible to only a small percentage of employees. And a lot of your communication is ad hoc or off the cuff. So employees experience you sharing a few random thoughts before you pop out to another conference room.
To be a more compelling leader, you need to be more intentional about communication--to be more consistently visible.
High-performing leaders know that visibility doesn't occur by accident. That's why you need a communication plan designed to provide maximum visibility, given your time available. The best practice is to design a program with these elements:
- A consistent story/message platform. What is the story you tell throughout the year? How will you explain the strategy and other concepts in a simple, memorable way that everyone will buy into and understand?
- All-employee meetings--also known as town hall meetings--at least once a quarter.
- Briefings with managers several times a year
- Informal sessions (you can call them "coffee chats") with small groups of employees at least six times a year. These chats are more about hearing from staff members than delivering a message.
- Presence on electronic channels. For example, if you've got an internal social networking platform, participate in online conversations. Or create written or video messages on an intranet site.
- Showing up and walking around. These informal "sightings"--having lunch with a few people in the cafeteria, touring a new facility--are very valuable for demonstrating that you're in touch with what's happening.
The result of these efforts? Your employees will say:
"I know what my leader stands for."
"I trust my leader and believe that he/she is authentic."
"I understand what our organization is trying to accomplish and how my work contributes."
And isn't that what it's all about?