One of the things that is key to everyone in life is communication – clear communication to be precise. As we are gone past the first month of the year, I want to ask you this question; are you certain your employees know exactly what is expected of them as a leader? What about you supervisors, does your team know the direction in which your unit is working this year to add to the productivity of the company, organisation or business? Finally do you know what is really expected of you as a worker? I am not just talking about what is on paper; I am talking about the dynamic context of the ever-growing company, business or organization that you are part of. It is possible to know your job description on paper but are not really certain where your role starts, ends and fit within the big picture.
The degree to which employees have a clear understanding of their tasks, duties, responsibilities, that of their coworkers and subordinates is very essential as it is an antecedent to productivity. The opposite of this can cause unnecessary stress and confusion. Clarity is the solution for the reduction of these feelings of stress and confusion, as it improves both personal effectiveness and your company’s overall performance.
Roles and responsibilities can be hard to keep up with at the team level due to rapid change, evolving businesses, and organizational shifts. Often, leaders assume employees know their roles and responsibilities, but don’t factor in team growth, company changes, or personal biases that could cause miscommunication. Role ambiguity is a setback that ultimately leads to unproductivity. These gray areas, for both new and tenured employees, create an overlapping of tasks between team members, directions that are as clear as mud, and communication gaps, ultimately leading to confusion. Team members who are unsure of who owns what may work on the same tasks and projects, or work in different directions because there is no alignment. Role confusion will create friction and conflict and is detrimental to your bottom line. Inc.com accurately states that the only thing worse than not knowing what someone else is doing is not knowing what you’re doing. When roles are unclear, paid employees waste time wondering what to work on and what direction to go in once they choose a task – blog.birkman.
Leadership communication in businesses, organizations and companies must be clear and simple. It is about communicating with intent, deliberation and expectation. When the employees we engage do not understand what we are saying to them, they will not know what they should be doing. There is much more to lose in productivity and performance when employees have to circle back around to leadership for clarification on important information.
Communicate your vision in a way that matters to people. Tell a story. When you tell a good story, you give life to your vision. People find it easier to repeat a story than to talk about a vision statement. You have to be creative, flexible and agile. You have to be accessible to your staff. You need to walk your talk, be committed to your own well-being and that of your staff – psychologically, mentally, and physically. Time must be built into the work day where workers can slow down, and relax. The results is that they will be re-energized when they come back, and they will be more productive. Every time you are having a conversation, you have to first find out:
- What do I want to say?
- How do I want to say it?
- Why do I want to say what I’m about to say or why am I saying it?
You also have to know:
- What do I want the person to think?
- How do I want them to feel?
- What do I want them to do?
Clarity comes through conversation first with yourself and then with others. The first part of clarity is when you decide to write out and explain what you want to see in yourself and how that will translate to your productivity at work. The second part is to have conversations about it, and ask questions so that you can be clear about the direction you have chosen in your career path. It is when you gain this understanding that you perfect our clarity.
Here are 4 steps to consider in your journey of making clarity a key in communication at the workplace:
- CLARITY IN PURPOSE COMMUNICATION
You need certain fundamentals when it comes to communicating clearly. As a coach, I teach this with a lot of passion because it changed my life, it changed who I am as a person and it did change who I am to others in life. The continual clarification of the purpose of your organization as a leader cannot be overemphasized. This is because it becomes a foundational step toward nurturing a team culture marked with high levels of motivation and engagement. In this era where technology has contributed to shortening further our attention span, it is of necessity that team leaders keep drumming clearly the purpose and dynamics of the business, company or organization’s as they change to keep team members aligned and at their very best.
2. CLARITY IN STRATEGY COMMUNICATION
Every worker wants to know and feel they are significant, that they matter. They want to know that their contribution is adding value to the business, company or organization’s vision and mission. Leaders must communicate clearly the strategy that is in alignment with the business, organization or company’s purpose. Let them know and understand the drive of the short-term and long-term goals and how each fits together in a way that will bring about the business, company or organization’s ideal future. This becomes an encouragement to the team leaders because it helps them plan with their team members on how to set targets that will be executed to support the business, organization or company’s goals. It can be costly for any business, company or organization that fails to communicate their strategy without this clarity. Following any strategy that is not clearly tied to the company’s purpose can result in a sense of confusion and frustration among employees who may feel that their efforts are being wasted on an unnecessary initiative.
3. CLARITY IN COMMUNICATING RESPONSIBILITIES
Every company, business or organization has specific roles, responsibilities and expectations for its workers based on their vision, mission and mandate. These must also be communicated clearly to employees to know exactly what is expected of them in the workplace. It is true that each job description comes with their duties and responsibilities. However, there are also specific present job titles that are given in most cases based on the company, business or organization’s needs. When there is lack of clarity, employees get confused when it comes to setting their targets for the year. The outcome of this confusion will be seen in their lack of inspiration and ingenuity when it comes to their work output.
In a recent study, it was reported that nearly half of employees lack role clarity in the workplace. A consequence of this reality is that many people, instead of taking initiative to help create the clarity they crave, will often regress into a state of disengagement. In other words, you will end up with employees who, rather than demonstrating creativity and initiative in their work, will be hesitant to act until given specific directions. As a healthy alternative, work to ensure that every employee achieves clarity not just on their daily role responsibilities, but also the boundaries within which they can (and are expected to) freely traverse without fear of reprisal. Encourage feedback from employees in order to better understand the practical needs of your people when it comes to improving team clarity – teams.winshape.org.
4. GET CLARITY!
Unlike the first 3 points that are geared towards leadership in the workplace, this final point is for employees. It is important that you are fully aware of what your responsibilities are and create room for flexibility and inventiveness in line with changing requirements in the job and company, business or organization as that is inevitable. You owe it to yourself as an employee to seek clarity from time to time in the workplace as time goes by in your fulfilling your duties and responsibilities. This is because, as you serve and time goes by, what you actually do in relation to the initial job description usually goes through a metamorphosis. It is therefore important to revisit your job description from time to time and seek clarification from your employer in order to update it to suit your job title with the current position or as an additional duty to your original job description.
Seeking clarity in the workplace is one of the most important things everyone, both employers and workers should treat as your top priority. When you seek clarity, you become self–aware and use it to be outstanding in life, work and business.
You can order a copy of my book “The Essentials of Image Leadership” if you are interested in seeking clarity, and becoming more self–aware for high productivity.
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