1. When thinking communication, think connection
Team dynamics can be greatly improved if managers are more intentional with their communication. By projecting positivity with body language and tone, leaders can turn a simple message into a powerful one. Pay close attention to how your team responds, both verbally and non-verbally, to the language you use. Emphasise ‘we’ over ‘I’ and try to include a narrative to explain the ‘why’ of a message; people respond well to this, and it increases your influence and team engagement. Ensure that your communications with your team are synonymous with connection, with no interaction wasted. Maintaining strong lines of communication will be even more important in hybrid workplaces, where team members may be working asynchronously or predominantly in one location or the other.Read Associate Blog: Mark Fenton - Fostering inclusivity in the new world of work
2. Keep your audience front of mind
Mindful communication between leaders and their teams means that employees feel heard and valued, which can have positive downstream effects for the organisation in terms of productivity. At times, however, leaders can get lost in their message and neglect its immediate impact on their teams. The mindful leader must be capable of adapting and catering their message to their audience, being cognisant of the team’s personal fears and anxieties. Against a backdrop of constant change and disruption, exhibiting compassion as a leader has been proven to foster more loyalty and engagement in teams.Read our Long Read on The Mind of a Leader
3. Silence is golden: Learn by listening
To truly tune in to what your team is going through, leaders must listen more than they talk. By using techniques like ‘mirroring’ – listening and repeating back the last few words of what a person has said before responding – leaders can show empathy and build trust in their relationships with their teams. Ask a colleague to hold you accountable with your communications, ensuring you are not deviating from your plan and that you are sticking to the right language. Laying the groundwork for communication in this way can bring out the best in people and foster a level of candid, forthright and constructive dialogue. Mindful communicators who stay in the moment and listen can transform their teams and organisations for the better.Learn about how to optimise collaboration in a hybrid workplace
"When we communicate, we focus on the words we want to say, but we should focus more on the internal reactions we are going to generate. These reactions can be small and insignificant, but they can also be quite troublesome if they are negative.
There’s a lot of value in stepping back as a leader and asking: ‘Who do I need to say this to? Who do I need to take into consideration as I communicate these different messages?’
We all have these biases, these different starting positions. My starting position as a leader will be different from someone receiving my communication. It’s useful to question whether my starting point is the right one. Because of this increased pressure, there may well be occasions where we as leaders share that information as much for a need to ‘get it done’ and not necessarily to have the right impact when we send it out.
One of the other challenges for leaders is the expectation that because they have that title, they have all the answers. There are times when how leaders communicate within the confines of their own head is extremely important. There is value in being able to cut themselves a break and equally to put their hand up and tell other people they need support.”Eric FitzpatrickExecutive Speaker Coach, IMI Associate & Programme Director for Communicating for Performance
4. Keep your emotions and biases in check
Having firm control over your emotional state as a leader is critical to being a mindful communicator. By developing a framework for remaining calm and putting that into action prior to sending important communications, leaders can ensure their messaging is succinct, clear and delivered in a composed way. Bias can also creep into leadership behaviours, often impacting how others react and feel in your presence. By keeping a two-way line of communication open with your team, frequently asking for feedback and learning from any negative interactions, mindful communicators can solve problems proactively.Read Associate Blog: Alan Lyons - Building resilience through purpose-led leadership
5. Be a role model with a human touch
Leaders who have shown vulnerability and empathy during the Covid-19 crisis have brought about a positive impact on team members’ stress levels and have improved team goal achievement and productivity, according to research. With many organisations poised to move to a hybrid working model, leaders must become role models for compassionate behaviours, ensuring every interaction with their team is executed with a human touch. This authenticity will pave the way for a more communicative and more contented team that is comfortable being candid with their leader or manager.Read Neil Kelders' blog on Daily wins to inspire better performance