In today’s fast-paced work environment, effective leadership communication is vital for engaging and motivating team members. Gallup reports that employees who receive “meaningful” feedback from their managers are four times more likely to be engaged.
But, providing feedback only once a year falls short in elevating performance. Equally disengaging is not providing specific feedback. The reality is people can’t put their hands around vagueness.
Unfortunately, performance development often goes awry due to critical shortcomings in leadership communication. Consider the following scenarios:
Scenario 1: The Executive’s Surprise
Despite facing resource constraints and putting in extensive hours, an executive managed to surpass performance goals. However, during the performance evaluation, the CEO unexpectedly revised the performance criteria without prior notification.
The CEO’s rationale behind this decision was that due to the company’s overall poor financial performance, everyone should share responsibility, even though the hard-working executive had saved the company millions of dollars and exceeded all the financial goals for their area of responsibility that was agreed upon at the start of the year. This sudden alteration left the executive feeling demoralized, much like changing the finish line right after securing the first-place position.
Scenario 2: The Sales Executive’s Misalignment
A sales executive and a team member agreed on a yearly goal, only for the executive to express an expectation of significantly higher sales at year-end, without any prior communication or goal adjustment conversations during the year.
Scenario 3: The Unspecific Complaint
A customer service manager confronted an employee about a customer complaint without providing specific feedback on what they heard, when they heard it, or inquiring about the employee’s perspective. The manager arrived at the conversation with preconceived notions, made accusations, and left the employee confused and without specific action steps for improvement.
What could these leaders have done differently?
Approach with Curiosity, Not Conclusion
Leaders should approach conversations with curiosity rather than jumping to conclusions. By asking questions and seeking to understand, they can avoid creating unnecessary drama, making hasty decisions and damaging relationships and trust with others.
Incorporate Performance Development into a Company Culture
Establishing a Performance Development Culture involves consistently following the Plan, Coach, Review/Develop, and Reward process. Leaders should engage in follow-up conversations when goals change and clearly communicate any unspoken expectations. This includes recalibrating expectations before the end of the year, as needed.
It’s also important to provide positive, strengths-based feedback so that the team member continues to build on their success. When they have specific, solutions-based feedback that aligns with the desired outcomes, they have a pathway for elevating their performance.
Understand Human Wiring
Recognizing individual differences in wiring, particularly in terms of certainty, is essential. Leaders should increase their awareness of their communication styles to ensure clarity and alignment with team members’ needs and preferences.
In each of the cases, the leader giving feedback was naturally wired lower in certainty. Leaders wired lower in the certainty driver not only want a loosely structured work environment but they don’t need as much information to form a decision or conclusion as someone higher in certainty. They didn’t collect information to relay it to the employees or think through their already-formed conclusions.
In some of these cases, the leader also didn’t relay their unspoken expectations when it shifted from the mutual agreement of the goals. In each of these cases, the employee leaves deflated and without knowing what action they could take particularly if the employee’s wiring is higher in certainty.
Strong leaders empower others by viewing feedback as a continuous process, encompassing various crucial elements. At Excellerate Associates, we show leaders a continuous improvement approach to elevating performance, which includes
- Planning: Set Clear Expectations
- Coaching: Encourage Professional and Personal Development
- Review/Develop: Assess Performance and Provide Continuous Feedback
- Reward: Align Rewards with Performance Goals
In conclusion, elevating leadership communication requires a holistic and ongoing approach to giving feedback. By avoiding common pitfalls and embracing a culture of continuous improvement particularly around elevating performance, leaders can engage their teams effectively and influence breakthrough performance.
In the world of business, success often hinges on the ability to build a winning team. But what’s the secret sauce to creating a team that can help you scale your business effectively? It all comes down to understanding human wiring (yours and your team members) and the very systems that build in freedom.
At our upcoming Wake Up Profitable Boot Camp on October 24-25, 2023, we delve into the fascinating intricacies of human wiring when building a team. By understanding the unique strengths, innate motivations, and communication styles for each position on your team, you’ll be equipped to assemble a group that not only works together seamlessly but also drives your business forward.
Our boot camp goes beyond the conventional wisdom. There’s plenty of hands on coaching to connect fresh ideas and provide you with cutting-edge strategies for team building and business scaling. We’re not just about theory; we provide practical solutions that you may not have considered, thanks to our systems approach. You will walk out with a Blueprint to scale and systematize your business.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to unlock your business’s full potential. Join us at the Wake Up Profitable Boot Camp, where you’ll gain valuable insights, connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, and leave with your Blueprint to scale so that you take your business to new levels.
If you’re inspired to grow your business, please register by next Friday HERE and receive your human wiring assesssment, too.