Being a leader is both exhilarating and exhausting. Sometimes it feels like you have the best job in the world, and other times it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Things become even more difficult when internal communication is low. Though often neglected, internal communication is one of the most important things for the success of your company. Many people in leadership, however, sabotage internal communication without even realizing. Here are five types of leaders who unintentionally hurt the internal communication of their staff, and tips to avoid being like that.
If a leader is a visionary and/or a go-getter, it can be very difficult for them to delegate. They have an idea in their heads of what they want done, and how they want it done. And rather than passing off the responsibility to someone else, they try to do everything alone so that it can be just right. These leaders do not necessarily think their employees cannot do the task correctly; however, they are so focused on getting it done and getting it done their way that they simply forget that they need to let go of some things. Unfortunately, this attitude can really harm internal communications. The leader is so focused on the work that they fail to communicate with the team. The employees feel undervalued and lose interest. Plus, employees without adequate instruction and responsibility cannot perform well for the company. Leaders must learn how to step back, let go of having things exactly how they pictured it, listen to others’ input, share their dreams, and delegate responsibilities to others.
Wanting to appear strong and capable is perfectly understandable. Leaders, especially new or inexperienced leaders, want to feel and look like someone who has everything under control. They want to seem like the perfect employer, the one that will lead the team toward a great and glorious future. In some ways, it is good for a leader to want to be strong. This desire, however, can also lead to a lot of messy situations. These leaders are often tempted to cover up problems and difficulties in order to save face and to maintain morale. Although this may seem like a good idea at first, it seriously compromises on good communication. Employees eventually find out that the leader has been hiding things from them, and they feel hurt and cheated. Leaders should be upfront about difficulties and even personal failings and let employees discuss and solve the problems.
Communication is done best when there is some level of friendship between the two parties. Leaders, especially new leaders, are so focused on getting the job done that they do not take time to really create a spirit of friendship and teamwork. They are enthusiastic about work but ignore the personal side of their employees. This is an obvious mistake when one is looking in from the outside, but it is extremely easy to let it happen in the heat of a new and/or time-consuming project. Leaders forget to make friends and have fun with their employees before jumping into the mundane and difficult. Employers and employees end up unable to work together because they have not had the time to really understand how the other ticks. The result is inefficiency, jealousy, and a whole lot of misunderstanding. Leaders should take the time to get to know their employees’ personalities. They must find times to relax and socialize together outside of work. In the back of their minds, they should remember that employees have a life outside of work and that may affect things in the office. True friendship between leader and employee will increase good internal communication, which, in turn, will dramatically increase productivity.
Many leaders will communicate with their team regarding small projects or specific responsibilities, thinking that is sufficient. But they neglect to let their employees in on the big picture. Since they can see the big picture perfectly in their minds’ eye, they may not realize that the employees may not see it as clearly as they do without careful explanation. They are eager to get employees on board, but they fail to explain long-term, larger-than-life goals. This not only inhibits employees from truly understanding what their leader has in mind, but it also keeps good communication from happening on the employee side. When the employees do not know the vision behind the projects, they cannot offer input or throw their full weight into the job. This ends with frustration for everyone. Leaders should make sure to articulate their long-term vision – first to themselves, and then to their team. They should also be open for discussion, change, and new ideas.
Maybe leaders are used to doing things a certain way, so they will hold to that way regardless of whether it is the best way or not. Or maybe they are overwhelmed with options and unprepared to make a decision of what tools to use to increase good internal communication. Either way, leaders often allow great tools to go to waste. They do not even know what they are missing out on. Internal communication may be okay, but they want it to be amazing and they just are not getting where they want to be. Leaders should be open to using Facebook pages, apps, or, better yet, intranet software to increase internal communication among their staff. The results will blow them out of the water!
If you as a leader see yourself in any of these, do not panic. Actually, if you recognize a weakness in yourself, that is wonderful. Why? Because the first step to solving a problem is understanding that it is there. Once you see the issue, you can take steps to counteract it and to improve. And remember that you are not alone. IC Thrive is with you every step of the way, should you need support, advice, or tools to help you accomplish your goal. Simply contact us for more details. Before long, you will start reaping the rewards of your efforts.