Speaking to clients, colleagues and business people alike, I notice that, now more than ever, it is important for us as personal, group and organisational leaders, to focus on connection, communication and clarity.
What do I mean by that?
In these uncertain times, there has emerged an urgent need to inform employees and clients about how we plan to adjust.
However, the error I often see being made is, that the focus is on speed – putting in place quick new processes, sharing new guidance and releasing statements on positions.
All these are useful and needed, but without initial connection, thorough communication and clarity they can leave people feeling even more confused and more uncertain and insecure than before.
• Connection – It is important to truly connect with one’s clients and employees and understand their needs; to know what one can do that may help bring stability, trust and security to them. We often think we know what is right for our employees and clients, but we forget to ask.
Questions that can be asked are – What advice and decisions are critical in their opinion? What new processes would make the biggest difference? What are their biggest worries?
With that true insight, one can then focus on addressing key topics and put one’s energies in the right areas. It also leaves one’s employees and clients feeling heard, understood and cared for. Loyalty, security and commitment increase when there is a strong connection.
• Communication – We may think we are communicating well and regularly enough in this new digital and more virtual world. However, leaders are mistaken here. While managing people through change, constant communication is vital; even if it is just to let them know that there is nothing new to share and when one hopes to have something to share with them.
We are all learning to use multiple new communication avenues – WhatsApp groups, texts, calls, webinars, e-mails, recorded broadcasts to phones, saving the chats in our webinars so we can answer questions, see themes and keep all the great work.
It is important to be transparent with employees and clients about all the ways in which one can and will communicate; all the ways one hopes they can feel heard and answered.
Remember, if one says something will be done then one has to ensure that one does it. I am somewhat surprised at the number of promises made regarding communication channels and not kept, just because new priorities and ‘work’ get in the way.
Unfortunately, this then erodes trust, and in future, promises and ideas spoken about become less and less believable. Then frustration and demotivation may set in.
• Clarity – At the moment, we are all experiencing a state where constant guidance is released about what we can or cannot do now.
Yet, often, there are so many inconsistencies or gaps that people begin to get frustrated and irritated. They begin to lose trust in the guidance and rules, and their faith in those releasing those guidelines decreases. As a result, people stop following the rules and guidelines as they don’t make sense to them. They lose sight of the ‘WHY’.
As leaders we need to make sure there is real clarity about the ‘Why’?
Why are we putting certain changes in place?
Why are we taking certain positions?
What information do we have that is helping shape our strategy going forward?
What are the things we have had to consider?
What is equally important to know is, what are we aware of that we may not currently be able to address, and why?
This level of clarity in our communication is vital in creating the safety, that we as employers, employees and clients need.
Once again, this helps build connection, trust, motivation and security. Coaching is a great way to help leaders develop these virtues.
ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. A coach is a thought and accountability partner and a catalyst who supports his clients in reaching the clarity of their goals and helping them map out ways to achieve them. A coach does not provide advice but facilitates one’s development and enhances one’s awareness.
Professional coaching services can be found using ICF’s directory of credentialed coaches spread all over the world
Another way in which we ensure clarity is by ensuring that when we have implemented new projects, new processes and/or new guidance that we see them through to proper embedding.
I often see things quickly implemented and then leaders moving on to the next task. This leads to a lack of clarity regarding whether the change actually achieved was what was actually planned.
Therefore, it is vital to get feedback and see how embedding is going on; to see what is working and what may need tweaking and then to communicate the observations back for appropriate changes and tweaks post feedback and what is needed of everyone to ensure success.
These three words — connection, communication and clarity — are intertwined and, in my opinion, so powerful. I have seen leaders made or broken by whether they have followed these three Cs or not.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation leading the global advancement of the coaching profession and fostering coaching’s role as an integral part of a thriving society. Founded in 1995, its 35,000 plus members located in more than 140 countries and territories work toward the common goals of enhancing awareness of coaching and upholding the integrity of the profession through lifelong learning and upholding the highest ethical standards. Through the work of its six unique family organisations, ICF empowers professional coaches, coaching clients, organisations, communities and the world through coaching.
In India, ICF is represented by six vibrant chapters, all led by volunteers — ICF Bengaluru, ICF Chennai, ICF Delhi, ICF Mumbai, ICF Pune and ICF Hyderabad.
The author, Ella Jaczynska is a PCC accredited coach, based in the UK, who has been at a senior position in a global multinational. She has in-depth understanding of the complexities, challenges, stresses and opportunities that corporate life can bring. Additionally, she is an experienced and accomplished leadership & management development facilitator, who focuses on delivering experiential, interactive courses and programmes with an emphasis on self-awareness, communication, mindsets and how/when to use a variety of leadership approaches and management skills. Her main areas of focus are: high-performing teams and individuals, unlocking the full potential of key talents, and managing change successfully.