Leadership and Team Communication: Small Medium Or Medium Large?

Which communication medium, or media, should a leader use when trying to turn a group into a creative team? The answer: whichever work(s). There is no ideal communication medium. People receive and understand messages through a variety of means. Some people need to be shown information. Some need to hear it. Some need to “feel” it–to touch it or be touched by it.

I once met a leader who tried to deliver a complex and very important message to his team and failed miserably. The message turned into a debacle that seriously effected the morale of his team. When I asked him how he delivered his message the answer was email. When I asked him how many emails he sent, the answer was one.

If you’re a leader and have a critical message you need to send to your team (all of whom work in the same building), one email is not a wise choice. When an issue is complex, people will have questions. If they don’t ask you those questions, they will form their own interpretation and end up with false information. If they do have questions, they will have to take the time to write and send an email and you will have to read the email, hope to understand it, and reply to it. All of this takes time and risks increasing misunderstanding. The better choice would be to:

  • gather the staff together
  • present them with the information you wish to tell them in print (some people need to see it)
  • tell them the information that you just gave them in print (some people need to hear it)
  • ask if they have any questions about the information
  • wait in silence while they process what they’ve just read and/or heard
  • listen to the questions people ask (really listen–people will feel you care)
  • answer the questions slowly, thoughtfully and thoroughly
  • ask if they have any suggestions (uncork the creativity of your team).

Remind staff of the team vision-mission-values on a regular basis:

  • during one-to-one conversations
  • at weekly team meetings
  • through posters
  • by means of tweets and email.

One message sent one time via one medium is almost never enough. It takes work to get anyone’s attention today. Communication that binds a team together is worth the work. Put some thought into it.

Brilliance Activator helps leaders uncork the creative power of their teams to develop products and services that delight customers, increase repeat sales, and improve their profit margins. Receive regular insights and information from Brilliance Activator by subscribing to our free newsletter.
This entry was posted in Brilliant Actions, Communication, Leadership, Teamwork. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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  1. By Trash Talk on August 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

    […] you want your communication to be effective, you need to use the appropriate time, place and medium. Communication doesn’t work if no one pays […]

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