“If you want to be an effective leader, you need to excel in communication. In fact, the success of your business relies on it. According to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (pdf), poor communication can lead to low morale, missed performance goals, and even lost sales. A separate study found that inadequate communication can cost large companies an average of $64.2 million per year, while smaller organizations are at risk of losing $420,000 annually. But effective communication impacts more than just the bottom line. For leaders, it’s what enables them to rally their team around a shared vision, empower employees, build trust, and successfully navigate organizational change” (HBR, 2019).
Your messaging is as essential as your message. One of the things I teach in my trainings and coaching sessions is to be deliberate about how you Appear, Behave and Communicate. These three keys are what people learn and apply over the years to rise to leadership levels; and it is the same that sustains them because it has become part of their lifestyle. A way is paved for an increase in chances of better opportunities, positions and rewards as you keep working with this leadership mentality.
It has been established over the years that soft skills are as essential as hard skills for the success of every business. How well do you relate to people in your workplace – boss, co-workers, employee, and clients? Are you the go-to person at work? How do people measure you? Having good interpersonal skills helps you connect with others. This helps you to learn about the actual situation and work on anything that needs attention in order to increase productivity. The proper use of these soft skills moves you from just being a manager to a better leader no matter the level you are at work.
In this season of “new normal”, organisations that have been able to adopt alternative forms of delivering services to their clients are demonstrating innovativeness. Organisations are learning new ways of effectively communicating internally and externally, in a manner that is as engaging as in-person communications. This innovativeness is characteristic of leaders or leadership that has the ability to unlearn the old and obsolete way of doing things and relearn the new and up to date ways of reaching out to clients.
The positive atmosphere you create for your teams, audience and people you come into contact with by addressing them according to their potential, leaves a lasting impression on them and spurs them on to realise that potential. As Lao Tsu puts it, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, and every leader knows and works with this knowledge; they dream big but start small.
The adoption of proper office etiquette leaves a good lasting impression. As simple as it may sound, many tend to forget basic manners. For instance, make sure your mobile phone is not a distraction for you or anyone else if you are allowed to use one at work. Another factor to consider is your communications, both verbal and written. There is a big difference between personal and professional emails. Unlike the personal emails, professional emails are the reflection of your organisation’s brand. Communication on professional emails should have good grammar, void of informal abbreviations, free from typographical errors, it should have a structure, clarity and more importantly, it should err on the side of formality.
Apply your soft skills to learn how to deal with workplace crisis quickly and effectively. The ability to manage crisis at the workplace is a good way to create a positive attitude that will leave a lasting impression. One way to do this is to imagine different scenarios and come up with strategies to respond to each one effectively. This proactiveness will help you to be fully prepared to deal with the unexpected, if it ever happens. For instance, the caterer skips town before a big conference your company is hosting or a computer crashes–because there has been anticipation of either the same situation or others close to it with the responses already prepared, there will be no panic. The right response will be applied to solve the issue with ease.
A calm workplace brings about harmony and focus on the various roles carried out by each person. To maintain the harmony and focus, demonstrate your empathetic skills and avoid talking about topics or starting conversations that will make others feel uncomfortable; and could even lead to arguments. Your constant practise of this skill that brings about peace and harmony will cause others to perceive you as a leader. This in time leaves an impression that lasts.
It is often said: Dress the way you would like to be addressed. The way you dress leaves an impression- it could be positive or negative; your dressing conveys a certain message. There is a prescribed dress code every organisation has for its workers. It may be business, smart casual, African wear or casual. Dressing to conform to your client’s dress code policy is one effective way of identifying with them. Your reaching out to them through your appearance, either when going to meet with them or they coming to meet with you for an interaction or any kind of networking, creates a relatability that brings about good business rapport. You must however make sure your appearance communicates who you are and what you stand for.
When you represent your organisation in any official engagement, your appearance must align with, and communicate your brand values. You reflect your organisation directly or indirectly; always make sure your reflection is a good one. The way you present yourself externally – essentially in non-verbal communication with your clients, business associates and social networks can go a long way to positively or negatively affect the projected and accepted brand of your organisation. When representing your organisation, make sure you do not merely participate in the business engagement but most importantly return with feedback that will be useful for your organisation.
These are four thoughts to consider on your messaging:
- STRATEGIC THINKING
Leaders work at what they envision in their future today in preparedness for that future. You must think ahead always to be prepared for anything that may happen in the future. Instead of waiting for a situation to happen before looking for solutions to that situation, leaders demonstrate proactiveness. They do not wait for things to happen to them to talk about it; they go out and make things happen for others to talk about it.
- FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS;WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESSES
Leaders are able to attain great feat as they maximise their potential, improve their organisational productivity and provide meaning to their roles as leaders by using their strengths. In addition to this, work on your weaknesses. Build yourself up in the areas that you do not consider strengths. You can ask someone who is strong in those areas to assist you, sign up for a personal development programme, or learn from sources online. Build a network of people who are strong where you are weak as a leader so they can complement you.
- BE CONSISTENT
Your brand as a leader must not be compromised at any point in time no matter the industry or business space you work in. Getting accustomed to the things you do, the people you work with or for, and the service you give clients may cause you to lose respect for those people and things. You attract what you respect. Leaders do not get familiar with life but are committed to what they do, constantly looking for opportunities for growth.
- SOW QUALITY EVERYDAY
Invest your best into each day as it is a new opportunity to propel you to your next level in leadership. There are many phases of leadership and at each stage, you must have the mindset of a leader and demonstrate it as well. See each day as an opportunity to improve yourself, the people around you, and your world at large. There are many challenges you may encounter. Your ability to channel all those negativities into productivity is that which will move you to your next level in leadership. You have been placed in the position you find yourself in the workspace because you have the capacity to solve problems in that area and bring positive change. It is important to always channel all your emotional energies of pain, disappointment and criticism any time you experience such into profitable stepping stones and that will lead you to a higher level of leadership.
People have a short attention span; within 7 to 30 seconds people form a perception of you. You must consciously and continuously practise the art of leaving a positive impression with everyone you come into contact with every single time. As Sonya Parker rightly says, “Almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make a good lasting impression”. Let us always keep this quote in mind and continuously work at our messaging and our message.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Certified High Performance Coach, Global Speaker, Media Personality and award-winning Entrepreneur.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; the mother company that holds Dzigbordi Inc. & Allure Spa in The City. These brands provide services in Personal Impact & Development, Corporate Consulting, Wellness & Grooming.
Her coaching, seminars and training has helped many organizations and individuals to transform their image and impact, elevate their engagement and establish networks leading to improved and inspired teams, growth and productivity.
Her area of focus is Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power (H.E.L.P).