What is the most effective communication / leadership style in achieving breakthrough performance?
Well, simply, there is none.
Since the 1960’s, personality assessment tools have been used in corporations large and small to help individuals better understand themselves, their work, and their colleagues. Starting with Myers-Briggs in the 60’s, and now including Lumina Spark and dozens of others, these personality assessment tools inspire breakthrough performance by changing the way people relate to their work, and with whom they work.
In the tumultuous contemporary business climate, I would argue it is critical to understand how you are perceived and gain better insight into your perceptions of others. Perhaps most importantly, discovering how to communicate so that you are speaking to the way everyone is listening, instead of just a few, will be more likely to yield breakthrough performance and results. As a leader of a team or organization, it is simply insufficient to say or tolerate the stance of, “this is how I am, take it or leave it!” We must explore how leadership styles, as perceived by others, is central to motivating and leading others towards a greater end.
Perception is Reality…or is it?
How many times have you thought about your style of leadership? Or how it is perceived by others? Or, before a meeting with your team, have you wondered if your commitment to Breakthrough Performance will be truly heard as such, and not as a complaint or criticism?
Or if you’re speaking to a large audience, how do you reach everyone, and not just those who “speak your language” or style?
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert, and does it impact your effectiveness as a leader?
Contrary to previous schools of thought, being a leader does not require one to be extroverted, or results-driven. Despite this conventional sentiment, that is simply not the predominant portrait of leadership in the corporate world today. More and more attention is being given to “embracing the paradox” of seemingly opposite “types” or styles. Bringing empathy and a focus of valuing people is rising in importance. The corporate world of today is complex and constantly changing. To achieve Breakthrough Performance, one must be aware of and adapt to this complexity. There is no “right” style of leadership. Good leaders are inclusive of all styles.
Since the currency we use in business is language, or communication, let’s start with how we as leaders can best communicate to achieve Breakthrough Performance.
Five Easy Steps to Communicate to All Styles
First, write your entire message, talk, or presentation.
- Re-read it, and briefly Bullet key points, removing all excess and superfluous words. (Less is more – I typically reduce my emails by 1/3 or more.)
- Make sure you leave people in Action, and be very clear about what you’re requesting, mandating, or suggesting. If nothing else, ask them to identify one thing they’ll start doing or stop doing as a result of your communication.
- Start and close with something with a personal touch – welcoming people at the beginning by focusing on being INTERESTED (not INTERESTING), and closing with authentically acknowledging and appreciating them for their time, participation, intellectual effort, etc.
- Be Inspired yourself, and you’ll be Inspiring to others. Create your WHY or purpose for the communication, beyond the obvious.
- Include supporting Data and Details as an attachment, rather than including it in the body of the message.
In essence, be inclusive and speak to all styles and you will reach people and inspire them on to Breakthrough Performance.