Feb 10 Solution-Based Communications
Leaders who communicate in such a way that they talk without providing real solutions run the risk of alienating their teams and getting an unwanted reputation as a speaker who is a great natural cure for insomnia. Don’t be one of those leaders who puts people to sleep. Instead, wake them up by offering tangible, applicable business solutions they can relate to and put into practice.
Solution-based communications are those that don’t fixate on the problem, but instead focus on looking for solutions, highlighting successes, and inspiring present and future performance. Here are some characteristics of solution-based communications that you can incorporate into your daily leadership. That will enhance your executive presence while inspiring more loyalty – and the kind of high morale and collaborative openness that uncovers solutions.
Qualities of Solution-Based Communications
MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory did an in-depth study to try and identify the key group dynamics that characterize high-performance teams. The researchers found that energy, creativity, and shared commitment to compete against other teams and win is what really gets results.
But a huge component of that was team communication – which needs to also exhibit those same traits or qualities. What was particularly interesting was that such things as tone of voice and body language are just as important as the substance of what is being communicated or discussed.
Another factor that can boost your communication effectiveness is if you encourage communication across departments and teams. To amp it up a notch, arrange for team members to discuss other things besides work.
The researchers also found that socializing – collaborating not just on work projects but outside of work, too – helped foster team performance. The trick is to generate intellectual chemistry that will ensure that teams continue to share ideas, even when you are not around to urge that kind of collaboration.
Communicate Outside the Box
Do you have chances to volunteer to consult on other teams, or in other departments, or to teach specific skills or technologies across the organizational grid? Are you taking advantage of opportunities to speak at organizational or industry-wide events?
Seize those opportunities, and watch how fast your leadership reputation and solution-based network spreads. Not only does that open you up to new business partnerships, but it automatically boosts your leadership profile and value to your own organization.
Soft Communication Skills
Letting the conversation go beyond just your formal assignments, for instance, can enable you to be perceived not just as a boss, but as someone who has been in the trenches and has wisdom and a depth of experience to share.
Plus those kinds of “soft skill” communications are an ideal opportunity to share appropriate personal details so that you can get to know your employees better – while they also get to know your more “human” side.
Other attributes that boost leadership communication in a solution-oriented way are a curiosity for learning, seeking out answers, and exploring ways to develop yourself and expand your knowledge and experience. It also helps when people talk and listen in roughly equal proportions – keeping their contributions to the conversation short and to the point.
Communications experts will often measure how people interact – which is technically referred to as “sociometrics” – and have found that when people physically face each other and use energetic hand gestures, that is conducive to teamwork. Of course you’ve heard me emphasize these things time and time again, because they are the core essentials of leadership communications that can take you to the next level!
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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