We’ve been looking at some ideas to keep you afloat while you find your feet if you’re a new leader. I thought we’d look at tips for all leader-managers in this post. Since a huge part of your job no doubt entails communication, the tips are in the form of eight positive principles for cooperative communication. And here they are.
- Soften the ‘you’s’ or turn them into ‘I’s’ to avoid sounding pushy and dictatorial. So instead of saying ‘You’ll have to …’ say ‘Could you …’ or ‘Would you be able to …’ or ‘What I need is …’.
- Turn your cant’s into cans. Instead of ‘We can’t do that until next week’ say ‘We’ll be able to do that next week’.
- Take responsibility. It’s tempting to push blame onto someone else or to an unfortunate turn of events or an unexpected situation. But we’re not kids anymore, are we? When something goes wrong, saying ‘Here’s what I can do to fix that’ is much better.
- Say what you want, not what you don’t want. Rather than ‘Don’t race through this and make mistakes’ try ‘Think this through – take it one step at a time.’
- Offer improvement suggestions. When you’re tempted to say ‘That was OK but …’ or ‘That works except …’ try ‘If you do X, that will make it perfect!’
- Turn complaints into requests. ‘You never …’ becomes ‘How about…?’
- Share information. Rather than argue or accuse, you can offer your point of view and explain how you see a situation.
- Leave doors open. That way, a flat out ‘No’ can become a ‘Yes, as soon as …’.
These principles not only strengthen your working relationships, they also make you a great role model for your team and set the tone for a positive working climate.