Tag Archives: Communication

Group of people talking

We Are All Human!

Business, at its core, is about people and the connections we make in order to achieve a goal.

But in the age of working from home and Zoom meetings, it is easy to forget that there are actual people behind LinkedIn profiles and online meetings.

And this isn’t a new problem.

As work moves more and more online, the less human it can feel.

But if interaction is the key to any successful business, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you aren’t engaging with your team or your customers in the right way, you will stunt the growth of your business.

Unfortunately, often people, in an attempt to be professional, sacrifice humanity and personality.

If we remove the human side of ourselves in order to be “professional” then we can end up treating people like robots or even like aliens.  In effect, alienating them.

The issue with this is that, of course, we are human.  So why do we deny ourselves that fact.  What is really more important is to be authentically you.  And since trying to be something we are not, is just an act, people can see straight through it, however good you may think it is!

So, what can we do?

A very simple example is that there is a big difference in how people will feel if you show genuine interested in your team (even just ask how someone’s weekend was before asking them to do a task).

Some viewpoints are that this is unnecessary and intrusive.

But, if you don’t take an interest, and your team feel like they’re just seen as cogs in a machine and not people, you will have problems.

Namely, people eventually won’t trust you, won’t like you, won’t care about what you say and, ultimately, this means they won’t work!

And for a business, a team that doesn’t want to work is game over!

So, feel free to build up a rapport, put a face to a company. This will benefit your customer success too. People are far more likely to engage with you and buy from you if they feel seen, rather than just as an income stream for you.

However, you have to be a little careful because if you get too personal, the issues will appear again.

You’ve got to find the sweet spot!

If you go too far, too personal, you run the risk of losing professional balance.

And this came to mind because of the following example.

Recently, I received a message from someone on LinkedIn saying that they were a fan of what I have been putting out on there. So far so good, right?

That is until they followed this up with some more personal compliments and a request to meet me, asking whether I thought my husband would mind!

Now that, to me, doesn’t sound as professional a message as you would expect form LinkedIn. And I was sure to tell them this in my reply addressing their antiquated and, just rather unnecessary, message!

Now, this is a more extreme example, I know, but it speaks to my wider point that I want to get across in this – the balance of our human needs and interest within business.

Perhaps we can think of it like “treat others as you want to be treated” advice. It might sound very simplistic, but the basic principles still apply in business.

It doesn’t matter, who, what or where you are, we are all deserving of the same respect and connection.

So understanding people and building relevant connection leads to more trust and therefore collaboration, and therefore more productivity and happier people. 

If you want to see any growth in your business, we have to get that balance right.

Simple, no?

Well, it isn’t always that easy to work out what people need or want, or how they prefer to work, communicate or participate.  So, if you are having any issues connecting with your team, or anyone else for that matter, feel free to email me at julie@thinkbedoleadership.com and we can have a chat!

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader: 

 
1. Join The “Quiet Leaders With Impact™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow 
 
It’s our new Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes –  Click here 

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™ 
It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here 

 
3. Join our Quiet Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme 
 
This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business. 
 
Email me with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us 
 
4. Work with me and my team privately 
 
If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just reply to this message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! 

Man Thinking

The Big Why

If they don’t believe in what you believe in, they won’t do it the way you want them to, if at all.

Recently I was asked what I thought of someone’s vision and mission statement on LinkedIn. It was perfectly serviceable but there was one easy way to turn it from fine to great, a quick fix that I’m sure could benefit many of you – give a reason WHY you do what you do!

Too simple?

But that is just the point.  This is the bit that we miss so often.  When I am working with leaders, so often I hear that it seems people don’t really get it and don’t see the importance of certain big issues.

And this it is why it is so important to make sure your team is filled with people who believe what you believe is right or is the right thing to do.  They have to buy-in to your whole being or at least the company sense of being.

And that is why we have to let people know what it is we stand for.

For a light-hearted example, they need to know if they you are a mint-choc chip ice cream person or a tutti-frutti?  Because whichever it is, they will know if they believe in the same OR NOT.  But never just vanilla, never just not really bothered.  Because if they are all in for tutti-frutti then they may not be for you.  But if you and they are into min-choc-chip then you are standing in line together forever. 

Vanilla is neither here nor there, so it leads to apathy.

And I will ask, which are you?  Because this is the sense of what you stand for.  i.e., your belief about what is right.

It starts with the Belief Statement

It all starts with this belief statement, the reason you want to do what you do, the core motivation for you and your business.

This can be anything but, as the name suggests, you have to believe in it! It has to be what drives you and it has to be authentic and honest.

If this is clear and tells people what you stand for then, not only does it help you build an ethos within your company, it also allows you to set and maintain clear goals because it will all fall into place underneath this belief.

And we have seen it before, how people will stand with you, even if the job is not so great, if they can belief in it and see how what they are doing helps.

And then follows the Vision

From your belief statement, whatever it may be, you can then easily derive a vision for your business. This is what you want from your business, where that belief is going to take you and what you are going to do with it.

Without a vision, it is almost impossible for anyone to buy into your ideas, be that customers or employees. This is why I am focusing on the ‘why’ today!

Once you have people believing in the ‘why’ they are way more likely to buy into the ‘what’, the actual functions of the business and everyone’s roles within it. Knowing ‘why’ is the best motivation a team can have!

My mind keeps coming back to my lovely Chocolate Labrador, Meg, asleep in my office, so let’s look into what I mean using her as the inspiration for my examples!

I’m sure (or at least I’d hope) we can all get behind the belief that all dogs deserve to be treated right?  And if we were a dog rescue centre we would probably agree.

So, there we have our belief statement:

          “We believe that all dogs deserve to be treated right…”

Then we can build onto that our relevant vision:

          “…therefore, we will create the best dogs care centre in the world.”

This now gives our team something to grab onto and they will start to buy into this idea meaning they are more likely to want to get involved in caring for the dogs than if they just want the job for the money.

It’s starts to feel less like work and becomes more about positive impact.

Followed up with communicating with Impact

For you as a leader, if someone is not quite aligned with your ‘why’ then they are likely to not be bothered and to do an OK job rather than a great one. 

This is where communication is so important.  Because knowing it yourself isn’t enough.

I’ve spoken about it countless times, but communication is the key to most things you will do as a manager. It is no different here, in fact it is perhaps even more important, as we are not just talking about small projects, we are talking about the whole motivation of the business.

So often people don’t communicate the ‘why’ and therefore people don’t commit to the ‘what’. This is where growing businesses fall down.

As you grow, you need more and more members of your team to step up as leaders.

If they are noncommittal and the ‘what’ becomes more of a ‘whatever’, the growth of your business can be stunted, even stopped!  But staying close the “why”, that belief is what makes us feel connected to the big picture.

The ‘why’ is what customers are drawn to as well. It means they align themselves with your vision and it helps them to feel validated or supported in their interactions with your business.

And not only that, if this is not being accurately portrayed or carried out within the business, clients or customers will stop coming to you and look elsewhere.

Every leader knows why they do what they do, but only the best leaders are able to translate that to the rest of their business. The ‘why’ turns employees into a team and a team works together for a company.

If your team are still asking you the big why question, let’s have a chat and see, well, why!

Email me at julie@thinkbedoleadership.com and we can get them on the same page!

P.S. Whenever you are ready…here are 4 ways I can help you increase your impact as a leader: 

 
1. Join The “Quiet Leaders With Impact™ Facebook Group and connect with other leaders who want to grow 
 
It’s our new Facebook community where those that are The Quiet Leaders can learn and share how to increase their impact, influence and outcomes –  Click here 

2. Grab a free copy of my leadership impact report: The Team Performance Engine™ 
It’s the Road Map to your journey to increasing your impact as a leader –Click here 

 
3. Join our Quiet Leaders Launchpad™ Mastermind Group Programme 
 
This Mastermind is a selected group of like-minded leaders, in an online community, focused on growing your results.  With training, group coaching calls, guest speakers and more, supporting and challenging you to design and implement real team performance in your business. 
 
Email me with “IMPLEMENT” in the subject line and we can discuss how you can join us 
 
4. Work with me and my team privately 
 
If you or your team just need a little more one to one attention to make change happen in your business… just reply to this message and put “PRIVATE” in the subject line… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! 

Wall of gasmasks

Toxic Communication Culture + 3 things to help you avoid it, forever

Just as I am talking (or writing) to you now, we are constantly communicating every day.

Of course, some people more than others!

But the importance of communication, in business as in life – be it a friendly catch-up over coffee, or an important meeting with a big client – cannot be overlooked!

Yes, I know this seems like common sense, but that is probably why it isn’t really looked at when it comes to training, it is just assumed!

But as the age-old cliché goes, “to assume’ makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’“, or in this case your business and your clients (only that isn’t quite as catchy!).

I once heard a story of a man who spent 15 hours on hold to Qantas airlines, a time 20 minutes longer than his Adelaide to New York flight that he had originally taken issue with!

Now, obviously this is an extreme example of poor service, but the fact that not only the flight, but also the subsequent complaints procedure, was so convoluted acts as the perfect demonstration of why your whole team should look at communication.

And here’s the thing…

The way in which you communicate has a direct impact on how we feel.  So that means how you feel, your team and, of course your clients.

And then it goes on, because this becomes ingrained because we respond to that feeling and then over time, we create a culture of how people deal with people, and how we feel working in, for and with your business.

So that culture in your business, as defined by the communication styles and levels, will show up in the external treatment of clients, and therefore how they feel (and whether they buy or stay when they do).

So, for your metaphorical flight to go smoothly, you need this culture to be a good one, plane and simple (yeah, okay that was bad!).

Let me give you an example of the kind of communication that creates the problem culture:

Did you ever have a teacher back in school who was almost too smart?

For me it was chemistry.

I’m not talking about someone who was just very knowledgeable, I mean the type who just expected you to know stuff and mad you feel stupid if you didn’t?

I’m sure it was super simple for him but how was I supposed to know my acids from my alkalis at 13?!?!

Anyway, if like me, you were unfortunate enough to have one of these teachers, Mr. or Mrs. Condescending (and believe me, I’m very sorry if you did!), then you will know how small it made you feel to be dismissed by this expert.

And, this is what will happen in your business if you get the communication culture wrong.

You will turn your client base into that 13-year-old kid in chemistry class (metaphorically speaking again!).

An apparent lack of care, or even somewhat bullying approach, both within your team, or when interacting with customers and clients, is a sure-fire way to get no response.

But here’s the thing…

Probably you didn’t mean it…

And neither did my chemistry teacher!

He probably never even knew he had that effect but was responding to how he felt. It is like a spiral of communication failings, creating a vicious circle.

But the problem is when the culture of communication is to not explain, not be open, honest, and supportive. Then we are only left with blame.

Then we get defensive and lash out with passive aggressive communication.  And cultures!

This is the vicious circle I mentioned because people fear consequences internally and become defensive and then, externally, this oozes out.

Want proof?

One of my LinkedIn connections informed me recently that this issue is currently causing major issues in the Court system.

Courts will cancel hearings with as little as 48 hours’ notice (even less in some cases!) due to lack of judges or various other reasons.

This is in spite of the fact that they know Counsel’s fees are collected seven days prior to a hearing (apparently).

When they are met with rightful opposition, they come back “no malpractice” or “not our fault.”

These dates have been set months in advance and there mishandling of this situation is costing others, both financially and mentally.

Court dates are often emotional, and dishonesty and lack of support is that last thing someone needs at this time.

Communication could solve this issue if counsels knew what was happening rather than feeling flogged off. It may also mean that there were judges where they were meant to be and avoid the issue entirely!

And what about if they actually said “Sorry, our fault.”?  That might make a difference too.

But often because of embedded culture, there is no sorry, there is no vulnerability, there is only pointing the finger elsewhere.

What Can You Do in your business?

If you are noticing these issues within your own company then, as with the culture, the change needs to come from within.

We are focusing on communication here don’t forget, so you can probably guess what I’m going to say:

Communication Culture is Key!

The way we talk to those in our business is as important as how we talk to those who we may be working with or for.

Here are three areas that you can work on which will make a difference to the culture very quickly. 

Now you may think that if you are the only one who does it, it won’t make a difference.

BUT

Behaviour breeds behaviour. So, when you do, the response you get from people will change too.  And a virtuous circle will emerge.

Try it!

OPENNESS

This should be a must is any business at any level. How can you operate if you don’t let people know what is going on? Openness will get everyone pulling in the same direction as they know what each other are doing.

It also helps with attitude and, therefore, culture. Openness will make people feel comfortable enough to ask questions and share experiences without feeling silly! And this feeds the next point…

VULNERABILITY

No one likes to feel silly. But it is easy for your communication to get toxic if you feel nervous to be yourself of feel like you have to get defensive over any comments or critiques.

It may seem hard to believe but maybe, when that chemistry teacher was admonishing you for not knowing your bonds, it was less about belittling you and more that they felt insecure that they had failed to pass on the knowledge effectively?

And so, it was most likely a response to how he felt.  So being able to be a bit vulnerable in front of you would have helped.

And, at this point, it pays to be honest…

HONESTY

As with openness, you will get nowhere without honesty. Excuses may offer a quick fix, but in the long run they will only cause more grief.

To continue with the school theme, you will fare far better if you tell the teacher you didn’t do your homework because you “didn’t understand the topic”, than if you say, “the dog ate it!”

Sure, you may have to face some consequences in the short run but at least when it comes up in the exam you will know what to do, because “the dog ate this page of my textbook” won’t fly so well with an exam board.

The same applies to when you are working with others.  If you are honest about the situation rather than trying to hide it, cover up or point the finger elsewhere, then people are more accommodating and understanding, because they understand your situation and are less threatened themselves.

So, if you put these three things together, you will start to build a positive communication culture, where people say what needs to be said without being worried about the consequences.

Let me know how you get on!

And if you would like some help with that, then book in a Game Plan Call with me and we can work on your communication game plan together.