How many times have you tiptoed around what you want? Or tried to drop subtle hints to relay the desired outcome you’re looking for?
Being polite and undemanding can be a useful tool in relationships. When you’re at happy hour or family dinner, being subtle and people pleasing can help.
But when you’re a team leader, you’ll find that you can accomplish a lot more by being direct and crystal clear.
Surprisingly, it’s a strategy that isn’t always used in the workplace. No one wants to come across as mean or unnecessarily forceful. So we tend to water down our words to dance around what we need our team members to accomplish.
But you shouldn’t worry too much about coming across as bossy – you’re the boss, after all!
And if you’re crystal clear while being polite, you’ll find that your messages are a lot easier to interpret while coming across as straightforward – and not mean spirited.
There are a few ways to ensure your words are working, starting with the most obvious way to get what you want…
When you’re giving instructions, it’s essential to be completely clear on what you expect, and not give general guidelines on the outcome you’re hoping for.
Consider the following two statements:
“It would be really great if you could get that report done by Wednesday.”
“Please complete that report by Wednesday.”
Do you notice a difference? Both statements are polite, but the first one makes it sound like having a report completed by Wednesday would be a bonus. The second makes it absolutely clear that Wednesday is the deadline.
By being direct upfront about what you expect, you reduce the risk of being disappointed or having important work fall through the cracks. For your benefit, as well as your employees’ benefit, make it clear what you want.
It’s a funny fact that people have a very hard time saying no. From colleague requests to go out of your way to do an extra favor, to employee requests for leeway or extra bonuses that may slow down the productivity of the company; It may seem easier to say “yes” and deal with the consequences than it is to say no.
But saying no is an essential part of being a team leader. After all, if one employee is given far more leniency than another, or one colleague is absorbing way too much of your time, your entire team suffers.
So say no when appropriate, and say it without excuses, and without apologies. A simple “I’m afraid that’s not possible” always works, and will also ensure your entire team continues to work well, without excess hindrances caused by letting one person get their unreasonable way.
Once you’ve mastered clear communication with your team, it’s time to reach higher – literally – with your higher ups. Maybe there’s an initiative that you want to move forward on or a new project that you want to get off the ground.
It can be hard to be demanding with your bosses, but considering that it can be easy for your wants and needs to move to the backburner, it’s essential to have a strong voice. So be direct, be aggressive, and clearly state the reasons why it’s important to move forward.
Saying “I’d really like to get started on this project right away” isn’t effective. But “We need to start this project by Thursday to maximize returns for this quarter” does get your point across, as well as a sense of urgency.
All-in-all, you’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish with simple directness. Easily applicable to everyone in your company from your employees to your employers, saying exactly what you mean is a surefire way to get exactly what you want.
Is your organization struggling, due to communication styles? WINology Performance Group can help! We will teach your organization how to communicate. Contact us today to learn more or visit us online!
How have you been you crystal clear? Let us know in the comments section below!