Effective communication is one the most valuable commodities in any organization. Excellent ideas or initiatives without a corresponding level of excellence in communication will never get off the ground.
Most leaders know this. Yet many companies and churches are still riddled with employees and members who aren’t getting the messages their leaders are trying to convey.
The reason is that most of us usually stick to the base line question, “what are we communicating.” This is necessary, but it is not enough.
Real leaders aren’t satisfied or content with, “what are we saying to our people?” They go a level deeper and ask the question, “what are our people hearing?” They take responsibility not only for the message they are sending, but the message that’s being received, or the way it’s being received.
This is what separates the master vision casters from the wannabes. A lot of people will use the copout, “well I told them that, they just weren’t listening.” This completely misses the point. The goal is not to deliver a message. Anybody, from the kid in the mail room to the executive in the corner suite can do that. The goal is to make sure the intended message was actually received, understood, and responded to.
Whether or not you said it won’t determine whether or not the instruction, encouragement, or correction was acted on. Whether or not they heard it, understood it, and are able to actualize it is what is going to make the difference.
This might mean you’ll have to reorganize your communication structures. Or you might have to find multiple ways to convey your message and keep communicating it well past the point you think it should have been accurately received.
It will require extra work and patience. But that is what the leader has to do. Your job is not done until your people are hearing the exact message you want them to hear.
As a leader, as a vision caster, make sure you’re always asking the question, “What are people hearing?”, not just what are we saying.
Real leaders and master vision casters are going to look at both sides of the same coin.
Read more from Steven here.