Effective leaders are known for being excellent communicators. Here’s what to do.
- Avoid “Not.” Negative talk encourages arguments, counter attacks, and attempts to solve your problems. It also creates a negative impression. For example, when you say, “I can’t,” you appear helpless and ineffective. Instead, talk about what you can do and what you want.
- Deal with impossible requests by 1) acknowledging the request, 2) empathizing with the other person’s feelings, 3) saying, “I wish I could fix it.” and 4) suggesting a reasonable alternative.” For example, imagine that you work at a resort and it is raining. A guest walks up to you carrying a golf bag, slams it against your desk, and shouts, “This place stinks! I spent thousands of dollars coming here and it’s raining.”
You respond by saying, “You’re right it’s raining. And I know how upsetting it must feel to travel this far and be stuck inside. I wish I could make it stop. In the meantime, you may want to visit our indoor putting center. Our golf pro is offering instructions this afternoon.”
- Deal with difficult requests by 1) affirming your willingness to help and 2) asking the other person to help you plan a solution.
For example, if your boss asks you to start another project, you could say, “I understand you want me to start a new project. And right now I’m working on another project. To help me set my priorities, I wonder which one you want me to finish first.”
- When possible, offer choices that show the consequences of different options. This allows the other person to choose both the process and its impact.
For example, you can say, “That’s a great idea. And there are different ways I can meet your request. We can use our existing supplies, which are free, or we can buy custom materials, which will cost $500. Which option would you prefer?”
- Deal with complaints by asking the other person to describe a fair settlement. You can say, “What do you want?” or “What would you consider a fair solution to this?” or “What would make you happy?”
- A smile significantly affects how you sound. It also makes you more approachable. When you frown, other people hear anxiety, caution, fear, and rejection. A smile (or at least a pleasant expression) encourages open communication.
Dr. Taunya Lowe, known as ‘The Riot Starter’ is an innovative, insightful, change agent who understands the concept of adding value to others. As a trainer and presenter, she is witty and engaging while offering practical solutions, healing the pain points around team progression and productivity, succession planning, and professional development. She uses a cadre of assessments to establish baselines within organizations, such as the Maxwell Leadership Game, Wiley DiSC, and 360 assessments. She offers training coaching and consulting using her results-driven philosophy back by 20 years of research to help organizations create High-Performance Workplaces. A national and international speaker, trainer, author, podcaster, mindset coach, and consultant. She is the founder and driving force behind the Results-Driven Philosophy and the Riot Starter movement, which consists of programs, products, retreats, and trainings. She is inspirational, transformational, and your partner for individual and organizational success. https://drtaunyalowe.com.