Have you ever been confused by a message you received from a leader? Have you ever received mixed messages from leaders in your organization? If your organization has at least two leaders, I’m confident the answer is “yes!’ Today’s Challenge: How do you avoid sending mixed messages throughout your organization?
Leaders are human and communication is ultimately a human process. Despite our best intentions we can still raise questions or doubt in our followers. My goal is to greatly reduce the number of times my team hears something and says “Huh? That doesn’t make sense. That’s not what I heard from another leader.”
Here are a few suggestions to increase alignment, clarity and unity.
Identify critical messages. Although we would love to have perfect alignment on ALL messages, this is not possible. So, my bias is to focus on alignment on critical messages. What are they? You get to decide. My short list includes: Vision, Values, Key Strategies and Action Items. We need perfect alignment on these things.
Document critical messages. This may seem obvious, but it is often missed. Yes, you probably have a document containing your vision and values, but how often do you leave a meeting unsure who is going to do what by when? Documentation is the cornerstone of accountability.
[tweet_box design="box_16_at" author="@LeadersServe"]Strategic repetition may be a leader’s best friend.[/tweet_box]
Repeat critical messages. Strategic Repetition may be a leader’s best friend. To say something over and over again has a tremendous affect on people and organizations. How often do you talk about your vision? How often do you talk about your values? Do you have stories to illustrate your values in action? Have you repeated them often enough that everyone knows them by heart?
Correct misinformation. When your find yourself in a meeting and someone shares a comment or point-of-view counter to the direction of a previous decision, you need to re-align. As an example, when you discover another leader who believes the strategy is X when the strategy is Y, you can’t let that slide. Leaders must be alignment’s advocate.
My favorite admonition to stamp out mixed messages comes from a former mentor of mine, Dr. Howard Hendricks. He accurately proclaimed, “If there is mist in the pulpit, there will be fog in the pew.” If leaders are not aligned we become the fog machines impeding, not clarifying, what matters most.[GLS_Shield]