It is easy to lament that your team doesn’t listen to your ideas.
It would be easy to blame them for not executing on your vision.
It would be completely unreasonable not to look at yourself and ask if there is any else you could do to help them win.
As leaders, it is our job to also be great communicators – and the first law of communication is that if there is a breakdown in communication, then it is a failure of the person doing the talking. If you are to ever drive amazing Customer service and superior employee engagement, then you have to first start by communicating your vision to your team and inspiring them to execute upon it.
Here are some tips to help you better communicate your vision:
Have a clear Vision
If you don’t know your vision, understand it, and have the power to communicate it vividly, then you’ll never succeed.
You have to show your passion for the goal and let your team know exactly what the finish line looks like.
When leaders are ambiguous it never leads to excellence. It’s okay to ask for help and its okay not to have all the answers, but be honest where the gaps may lie.
There is a great story about Walt Disney when he was sharing his vision for Snow White with his animators. Nothing like that had ever been done. As much as we see feature length animated movies as normal today – in the 30s this was revolutionary. Many though he’d lost his mind. But after his team saw him act out his entire story line for Snow White, there wasn’t a doubt left in a single mind. It can be gleaned from interviews with those present that Walt acted out every character and nuance of the film complete with story boards to help him share his vision. In fact, folks left excited to take this leap and turned his vision into a classic of American film making. That’s the kind of crystal clear vision and unbridled enthusiasm that your ideas need if you are to motivate your team to win.
Communicate it well
Don’t bore your team with monotone speeches, dull PowerPoint slides , or bloodless double-speak. Be real and authentic – and for heaven’s sake use real words. When you talk about improving operational efficiencies and driving for organizational resonance your team is secretly making fun of you. They are keeping count of how often you use the words deep-dive, data mining, leverage, and synergy. So replace them with honest language – what ever happened to examine, check the numbers, teamwork, and profit. Folks will respect you more if you just use words that make sense and don’t fall prey to some Orwellian doublespeak that will frankly just make you sound like a parrot in a suit. Also you have to be ready to communicate your vision and goals quickly and clearly – think “Elevator Speech.” I know that sounds vaguely like that corporate jargon, but no one’s perfect.
Ask what others think
Its often lonely at the top for some because they have forgotten to take the team along with them. When you only listen to your voice that limits your vision in the long run. Great leaders are almost always great listeners and they include the team. Its great to have big ideas, but it is even more epic when you can help others put voice to theirs. When you can help your team articulate what might be a fledgling idea and nurture it to fruition, you not only get the value of that brainpower, but you build loyalty in your team. Those leaders who don’t engage their teams and listen to their thoughts will find that they leave for leaders who will.
Now you may be thinking to yourself that this all sounds pretty basic.
It sure is.
But that doesn’t mean its easy.
Think about the terrible bosses you’ve had over the years. We’ve all had them and they are proof that not everyone has the chops to be a great leader. They were certainly aware that these traits we have discussed are important, yet they chose not to use them as a part of their style.
This mostly comes down to choice. The choice to be a good listener. The choice to make sure everyone understands. The choice (and courage) to ask for dissenting opinions.
It take a little more energy, effort and grit to do these things – but they are well worth it in the quest to build a high performing team that can serve Guests well and execute on your organizational vision.
Because that is what it all comes down to: Creating a culture that treats Guests like cherished friends.
Tony Johnson -Guest Experience Leader-
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