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Nov 4, 2013

1. Leaders listen

Instead of waiting to speak, leaders truly listen to what their employee is saying.

In order to communicate directives which will drive results, you have to really hear your employees. Leaders respond to questions, address concerns, and above all, listen with empathy.

2. Leaders organize their thoughts

The easiest way to lose your employee’s attention is to present a disorganized argument with a curtailed thought process.

If you’re in an informal, idea-generating meeting, by all means engage in that process. However, if you’re trying to communicate direction to your people, spend a few minutes organizing what you want to deliver to make sure the message is clear.

3. Leaders understand their limitations

If you’re not a capable writer but you’re a great speaker, then speak more often. Use your strengths when you’re choosing your communication method.

Chances are you have employees who are excellent writers, can design killer presentations, or know how to speak to the press. Leaders aren’t afraid to partner with people who can make them better at communicating on any platform.

Know where your communication limitations are and leverage the competent people you already have.

4. Leaders involve the right people

As fast-paced as your workplace can get, and as scattershot as communications can be, good leaders make a point of bringing in the right people for all efforts.

Involving stakeholders from the start means reducing duplicate communications and cutting down on the “telephone” effect. You’ll be able to solve unforeseen problems quicker, keep your team on target, and limit frustrations by making sure the right people are on the line from the start.

5. Leaders convey a narrative

Conveying a narrative is one aspect that sets leaders apart from managers.

Your employees crave knowing they belong to a whole greater than themselves. They want to understand their work means something.

By contextualizing their work, your direction, and the evolving progression of the company, you’re creating a communication that will inspire employees to do their best.

6. Leaders use all communication platforms

In this era of remote working, off-site teams, cross-continental groups, and flex time, leaders use all available communication platforms to keep in touch with their human capital.

Informal discussions, Twitter streams, Facebook groups, company email, are just among the myriad of possible contact methods a leader can use.

Don’t limit yourself to one platform. Anything you need to communicate should go out through multiple streams to make sure you’re reaching everyone who needs to hear your message.

7. Leaders communicate appropriately

At its best, appropriate communication is inclusive, informative, and motivational.

Although you have many platforms at your disposal, you need to make sure there are lines, both professional and personal, that you observe. When in doubt, involve your HR team to review missives before they’re dispatched.

8. Leaders use communication for more than information

While mass communication to convey data, direction, and goals is always important, leaders understand communication without connection is dead.

Your communication goal should be to convey your thanks for work well done and recognize employees who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts.

You’re connecting with people. Make that connection about building your employees up, driving them forward, and they’ll reward you with invested productivity.

This was originally published on the OC Tanner blog.

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