“Certainly a leader needs a clear vision of the organization and where it is going, but a vision is of little value unless it is shared in a way so as to generate enthusiasm and commitment. Leadership and communication are inseparable.”
One of my clients is a thoughtful business leader. Starting up a business in a new region he spent considerable time exploring the gaps in the market, the competitive threats and potential growth opportunities for his product. He put together a vision and strategy paper and hired a team of experts.
On the face of it he had taken all the right steps. Yet after 12 months he was disappointed with his employees’ performance and he was under pressure from HQ due to poorer than expected results.
As we explored his relationship with his employees it became clear that even though he had articulated his vision, he hadn’t really established if they understood and shared it.
He had been blinded by his single-mindedness and what he believed was self-evident. Consequently, he had made assumptions about their degree of commitment and “buy-in.”
On further reflection he recognised that in his zeal to seize the market opportunities, he hadn’t taken the time to understand what his employees cared about;
- what they were hoping to achieve by joining the business,
- their fears and aspirations.
He hadn’t confirmed that his employees were committed to his same goals.
Questions for reflection:
Do you assume your colleagues share your vision?
Do you listen selectively to confirm your position?
Are you open to new perspectives?
Are you fully present when you are communicating with your employees?
When you have conversations with your employees are you partially checked-out going over what happened in a call, preparing for your next meeting or scanning your smartphone?
Do you really know what your employees care about, what motivates them or what they fear in their roles?
Bob Dunham, The Human Roots of Successful Business
Simon Sinek, Start with Why: TED Talk
If you would like to have a conversation about how you can improve your engagement with multiple stakeholders contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me +44 (0) 20 7226 3611 or +44 (0) 7952 068133.