Select communication strategies and leadership styles
For this task, you will select communication strategies and leadership styles and evaluate how effective they are in managing communication, conflict, and cultural issues within an organization. Throughout your career, you will be using these leadership skills within an organization to resolve challenges that you will encounter. You will have the knowledge to apply your talent, manage people, and deliver results for the company you will work for.
You have recently been hired as the manager for the Global Network Administrators Group to enhance operational functionality. Part of your team works in the U.S. office; the other part of your team works in India. The administrators in the U.S. office have been allowed to do their jobs without direct supervision. Some employees in the U.S. office do not adhere to the following company policies: Network connectivity issues should be responded to within 4 hours; resolution of network connectivity issues should occur within 24 hours; and all issues should be documented, categorized, and put into a web-accessible frequently asked questions (FAQs) document for future troubleshooting purposes.
The company network has been breached several times and runs slowly, and it is difficult to get a response from the U.S. office related to network connectivity issues. The office in India has been overloaded with requests to check connection issues at the U.S. office, making it impossible for the India office to respond in a timely fashion to the international issues for which they are responsible.
In order to enhance operational functionality, you must consider the ideas you wish to implement and formulate a strategy or approach. You must also consider the impact on the stakeholders of the business, including the shareholders, the customers, and the employees. Equally satisfying these three groups can lead to a well-balanced, successful organization.
So, how can you be sure you’re communicating with your workforce effectively across the entire organization? Here are seven strategies to help you foster employee engagement and impact your business’s success:
When delivering your message, be truthful and as complete as possible. Be transparent and let employees know if there are details you simply cannot share due to confidentiality. Even if they don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, they’ll appreciate your honesty and likely be more supportive and, as a result, more engaged.
Don’t wait until you have all the information to deliver a message. There is never a vacuum in communication. If the message doesn’t come from you directly, people will fill in the information gaps with rumors or assumptions – which can lead to low morale, distrust and a lack of productivity. Communication is a process. Share what you can as often as you can.
Align your messages with your company’s mission, vision and values. Sharing the “why” behind a decision or change in direction helps your employees understand the reason behind the decision. This builds trust and a strong team mentality.
Make sure your message is meaningful to your workforce and answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” This creates buy-in from your team and helps empower them to move forward with change more easily. You’ll create a sense of ownership that motivates employees to get on board and do their part for the greater good. Employees who feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves will become your company’s biggest advocates.
Hearing something once is not enough. Everyone learns and processes information differently, so it’s critical that you communicate using diverse channels. Company meetings and email may be more appropriate for delivering formal messages, while small “town hall” meetings, social media, designated chat rooms and your company’s intranet can provide an informal forum for reinforcing communication. Remember, consistency across all channels is key.
Just as you use multiple channels to communicate your message to employees, consider using those same channels to encourage feedback from them. It’s important that your employees feel comfortable sharing their questions and concerns, so your organization’s communication flow should be two-way – a dialogue, not a monologue. When you encourage feedback and listen to what employees have to say, you send the message to your employees that their opinions matter.
Keep your middle managers in the loop from the start. They are the voice of your organization, the messengers between upper management and employees. By empowering them with information and effective communication strategies, they will be better equipped to deliver consistent messages to their teams and provide answers to any questions that may come up.
In some cases, such as in a company reorganization, it can be helpful to hold regular meetings with your middle management to update them on developing changes.
You may want to provide them with talking points they can readily share with their teams to ensure consistent messaging across departments and to avoid the spread of miscommunication.
Here are some things to think about when creating talking points:
True leadership skills are not required when one is telling another what to do; how to do it and when it needs to be done. This makes this style more of a management tool than a leadership tool.
The ‘directing’ style is useful when: one is working with freelancers or contractors for example. When work is outsourced; and you have a clear idea of what you need done; and what the outcomes should be, you would use a ‘telling’ style. In this case there needs to be a clear direction (in order to communicate what you want), however, there needn’t be a high level of support.
The ‘directing’ style would not be useful when managing a direct team, as it would hinder growth and prevent the development of an inspiring team culture.
Leaders are visionaries; they build a vision, and direct their team to achieve the vision. However, in order to successfully direct their team and accomplish the objective, they first need to sell their idea and vision to all those involved in bringing it to fruition. This is not only done to effectively communicate the objectives, but to also excite, motivate and get team members believing wholeheartedly in the endeavour.
The ‘selling’ style is useful when: you, as the leader, are introducing a ‘new’ or refined vision. Although the vision was not formed by the team members; you need their buy-in to ensure they’re motivated to perform, and achieve the end goal.
This style is best used when the team is made up of individual contributors that are full-time employees.
Collaboration is about working together: sharing ideas, suggestions and solutions within a group; but having the final say, as the leader. This is a rather inspiring leadership approach, as each team member is considered, and feels they are contributing in the decision-making process. Because the style is low on direction (from the leader), it gives the individual space to prove themselves and lead the process; and because there’s a lot of support, they are not held directly accountable for the outcome, should it fail.
The ‘collaborative’ style is useful when: a task needs to be carried out but does not need the initial involvement of the leader until a decision needs to be made. For example: when one of your team members are hiring an employee – they have full control over the recruitment process (interviewing/screening etc), but you as the leader have the final say, based on their input, ideas or suggestions. The ‘collaborative’ leadership style is best used when leading a team of managers or directors; otherwise a team of individual contributors.
‘Delegating’ is yet another leadership style best used when leading a team of senior leaders, directors or managers. Because there is little direction or support, the leader gives full authority to the individual or team to make the final decision.
The ‘delegating’ leadership style is useful when: you fully trust the decision-making abilities of the individual or group. This style is usually used by CEO’s, who fully trust the capabilities of their directors or managers, due to their experience and emotional maturity. The ‘delegating’ leadership style is hardly ever used in teams made up of junior or mid-level staff, unless the decision is incredibly low-risk.