World of Work: Three ways a leader may fail to communicate

Leadership is important, especially in times of strategic change

Many followers tasked with delivering change report that their leaders weren’t clear about what they wanted.

Many followers tasked with delivering change report that their leaders weren’t clear about what they wanted.

 

Leaders are far more visible than they realise. This is especially important during times of strategic change, when followers are trying to make sense of a new “ask” from the organisation, in the context of all the existing asks they’re already grappling with.

There are three main areas in which you as a leader may fail to communicate clearly and effectively in times of change:

1. Telling your organisation what you want: Too many followers tasked with delivering change report that their leaders weren’t clear about what they wanted the change to achieve.

It seems the reasons for this are twofold: Leaders too often express what they want in terms of tasks, not outcomes. They rarely make clear the full extent of the change they are asking for.

2. Personally living the change you’ve asked for: Living the change you want to see means much more than modeling any behaviours you’ve asked for. It also means making myriad decisions that support that change.

It means changing how you spend your time. If you’re not allotting time to the change you’ve asked for, followers will interpret the latest change as not really being important, and they will act accordingly.

3. Resourcing and measuring the change you’ve asked for: How your organisation spends its resources and what it chooses to measure are the final critical ways it signals what is important.

You must allocate the right people, with the right level of seniority, experience and political connections, to work on the change. And you have to make changes to what your measure, and make them early. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2017