Having regular, real conversations is one of the most important things a leader can do. We underestimate the exquisite power of conversation to assure that our followers are aligned. Instead, we are driven to move faster, to take action NOW. Yet, for a leader, conversation is a form of action. By taking the time to listen and dialog, you make way for employees to take the “right” actions.
Is it possible that an employee may be underperforming because she isn’t communicated with? Perhaps, you haven’t spent the time you need talking to her to assure she’s on the right track? Assuming that “someone at their level should know” is faulty. Organizations are complex, and communication is less than ideal. Interpretation of communication varies by the experience of the individual (their “mental models” or “filters”). They may not “know”.
Your followers are yearning to talk to you. To know that they are:
1. On the right track: doing the right things, making the right decisions.
2. On the wrong track: getting off course, needing to readjust
3. Aligned with the vision: you have talked to them about the vision, right?
4. Being listened to: you are hearing their ideas and using them
5. Trusted: you believe that they are fully capable
6. Understood: you “get” them and are appreciative of their uniqueness
7. Sure that you “have their back” when the going gets rough
I don’t disagree that conversations take time. But they can be worth every minute. Slow down and relish the results that occur from having conversations with your employees.