People, communications and leadership

Your employees are key assets. How well you understand them and how you treat them have a direct effect on business efficiency and therefore profitability.

Without communication you cannot understand your employees, nor they what you want of them. Without people you cannot be a leader. If you are not a leader, the ship is rudderless and doomed. Over the top? Not really! To lead people, you have to earn their respect and trust. To earn their respect and trust, they have to understand you and your needs. For this to happen, you have to communicate with them. To communicate with them effectively you have to understand their motivations and needs.

Communication is not simply about opening your mouth and uttering words. The words will send a message so the words have to be right. Even silence sends a message, a fact that many frequently forget. Find out how communication is, or is not, working for you with a Communications audit.

It is a good idea once in a while to check properly how your employees are feeling. You cannot rely entirely on what you are told, if only because it is very difficult for a manager to report a situation to you without adding his own bias to it, however hard he may try. An Attitude survey will give you a base initially to work from and then subsequently a check on progress made. Such a survey also sends very strong and positive messages to your workforce

What is leadership?

  • Leaders are created, not born. You earn the position of leader; it is not a management rank or title.
  • Remember – without followers, you cannot be a leader.
  • To become a leader, people have to want to follow you. This does not necessarily mean they have to like you, though it tends to help. It does mean they have to respect you, and respect has to be earned. You build mutual trust.

How do you earn respect?

  • By treating others with respect and in the way that you would wish to be treated
  • By consulting them about their jobs and their views
  • By showing consideration
  • By demonstrating the ability to make the hard decisions as well as the easy ones
  • By communicating; by keeping people informed about what is going on and why, and inviting their reactions and views
  • By being polite
  • By asking rather than demanding that things are done. Everyone knows who the managers are; it is unnecessary to throw you weight around – indeed it will work against you in the long run
  • By being available and giving you full attention to people who have requested your attention for some reason of their own
  • By admitting your faults and accepting when you have made mistakes. Someone who is never at fault is a right pain! And it usually means they are going to try to blame someone else, and that earns black marks.

To achieve this you will need to become a person who uses time well.

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