Wondering whether your team is as upfront with you as they should be? Are you noticing a hole in the chain of communication? If there’s a blind spot in your organization, it could be having a drastic negative impact on business. The good news is, you’re certainly not the only employer in this situation. The bad news is you are simply not going to be able to rely on your go-to staff to solve the problem.
The problem might be that your people (be they employees, partners, vendors, or even customers) are even more disconnected than you might care to admit. If they have problems with you or the way you do business, the chances of you hearing about it from them is relatively slim. In fact, there’s likely even a silent agreement to avoid telling you the truth. Consider this disconnect to be the Achilles heel of leadership. The people you count on aren’t going to be willing to be completely honest, but if something is wrong, you sincerely need to be aware of the issue. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you believe you might be in such a situation.
Clarity of Values
Good leadership is able to not only communicate but also inspire buy-in regarding your corporate goals and overall mission. If your corporate mission statement isn’t clear or conflicts with day-to-day activities or interactions, you lose clarity and your leadership is undermined. While you may be clear on areas such as the mission, vision, values, and identity of your company, the conflict often arises where the rubber meets the road. It really doesn’t matter how many presentations or newsletters you release, if the message isn’t landing within your own company, the clarity simply isn’t there.
Clear communication is essential to making sure your staff and partners are on the same page as you. But sharing your mission statement simply isn’t enough. You need to engage and motivate buy-in from your team. Without that buy-in and honest commitment from your key stakeholders, the reality is that while they may seem like they are supportive of your leadership, they might be undermining you from behind your back.
Acknowledging the Disconnect
The most difficult part of this scenario is acknowledging that there is in fact a communication gap, that your right-hand staff members might be more concerned with keeping you happy than keeping you informed. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but acknowledging the obvious is the hardest part. Bursting your leadership bubble is the first step to really getting a handle on what’s going on in your company.
Bridging the Gap
The next step is figuring out how to get down-to-earth feedback from your team. Authenticity should be one of your top values, and communicating that you are more interested in hearing the truth than being pandered to will help you reach out and connect with your key stakeholders.
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