Communication is one of the most important attributes in a leader. Like leadership, I believe communication can be learned. They are both learned skills that with proper coaching and mentoring you can learn.
The first thing I want to say about communicating is that it needs to be a two way street. It is not a monolog it is a dialog. What your team member has to say may be more important than what you have to say, but only if you listen. A low level leader does all the talking and very little listening.
When you listen and really hear someone you make them feel important. Which is good because they are important. Conversely when you don’t listen they feel unappreciated and undervalued.
When you choose to listen to people it is because you value them and you respect them. You are not necessarily listening to learn something from them but about them. Listen not just hear. When you listen, you listen with your eyes, your ears, your mind, your attention and with all your heart.
As a coach and a mentor I am trained to ask questions. I intuitively ask the right questions. Intuition is a great gift to have while communicating. When you ask the right questions you “draw as if from a well” from the listener.
You will learn “their truth.” What I mean by their truth is what is important to them and what fits for them. One time I was playing cards with my grandson, he was 8 at the time. I wanted to help him in a game called speed. In this card game it is all about “speed!” I was going to give him a suggestion on how he could be more efficient and speeder.
Instead “of telling him” what to do, I instinctively asked him what he might do to be faster. His answer shocked me. I was hoping he would say to move his cards closer to him so he could grab them faster. That is what I thought he needed to do.
He said “we needed to buy smaller cards that were less sticky!” he said his hands were smaller and that the cards were “not slippery!” I was stunned, then he said “and I probably should place them closer to me.” We went out, bought some smaller slipperier cards. He played better and he felt like his input mattered! And it did!
In management I have always heard managers say that you need to get the other person to “come up with the answer on their own so that they can own it.” And then they say that you are supposed to direct them to “the right answer.”
I think this is a mistake. I think in times of old, seers, mentors, coaches and gurus used to tell their students that they needed to “own their truth.” And modern day managers thought it meant we were supposed to come up with the truth, the right answer and manipulate our subject or student, our mentee, our employee to see “our truth” and think that it was their own and that they came up with the answer on their own.
The gurus and masters of the olden days knew that each person had their own truths and their own gifts and “the teacher” should “draw as from a well” from their students. I have read that the word coach, originated in the fourteen hundreds. It was used to describe “taking someone from where they are to where they want to be.”