# 1 Mistake of Most Leaders

  • Communication, Communication, Communication
  • By far the #1 mistake almost every leader makes is under communication.  When surveyed 90% of all team members said they want better communication from their management team.  The two best ways to improve communication are to communicate more often and to be clear and specific with the communication.  When I say more often it reminds me of an interview I heard by an NBA coach once who said he has over 2800 meeting per year.  Most of these meetings were 30 seconds to 1 minute and he has to be very clear on what was expected.  His job was on the line and the game was potentially lost if the team didn’t produce results and follow his rapid / concise direction.  Imagine if millions of people were watching and waiting on what happened after one of your meetings?  Would they see change?  Would they say why did he do that play again?  Would you continue to keep the same players in the game if they couldn’t execute the play? 
  • 8 Steps to Improve Communication:
  • 1. Communicate more often.  Even though you think the team knows what to do and what is expected it is important to say it out loud.  People cannot read our minds, sometimes we think just because we have the clear vision in our minds that others see it the same way. 
  • 2. Repeat Yourself.  If you feel like you are repeating yourself you are on the right track.  Sometimes team members are like children in the fact that you have to tell them the same thing over and over again.  We need to remember that their top priority isn’t always our top priority when at work.  It is our job to keep communicating the top priority to keep everyone on track.
  • 3. Be Specific.  We need to be clear and concise.  We cannot hold anyone accountable if we were not crystal clear in our expectations.  Remember to us SMART goals / tactics when communicating. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound)
  • 4. Ask Questions.  This is one of my favorite tactics when communicating.  This helps create not only a two way conversation but it also lets us know if the other person is on the same page or not.  This tactic also works well when you are angry and do not want to appear as though you are reprimanding someone.  Start the conversation with a question.  Always try to start the question with either “What” or “How” to lead the conversation in a productive way.
  • 5. Give constant feedback.  I cannot stress this point enough.  In some cases we are great at communicating the vision, the plan or the goals but then we do not follow up and give feedback on their performance.  The first thing most people do after they go to a movie is give it a review.  Most team members think that they are doing a great job and that they are doing what is expected.  If we want more of a specific action we need to praise it, if we want less of a specific action we need to coach it.  Saying nothing is known as “Silent Approval”
  • 6. Can’t or Won’t.  This point can only be used after we have given clear direction and given feedback.  If you have a team member that continues to not follow direction we must determine if is a matter of “can’t” or “won’t”.  Did they know exactly what was expected? Did we repeat ourselves and ask them to repeat the task or policy? Can they physically do the task?  If we answer yes to all of the above questions we may enter the “won’t” side of the field.  This is when the team member flat out chooses not to do something.
  • 6. Change Plays.  It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.  If a play works, run it again.  If a play doesn’t work, don’t call it again.  Sounds simple yet the reality is that our team will run the same play over and over again until the leader / coach steps in to change the play.  Vince Lombardi once gave an entire coaching seminar on one play.  It had hundreds of variables based on what the other team did but the point is he coached, re-coached and perfected that play by tweaking it as needed to fit the current situation.  Sometimes we don’t need a whole new play, just a slight adjustment.
  • 7. Change positions.  Sometimes we just need to change positions.  We need to get the right people into the right position at the right time for maximum results.  Look at your deployment plan and ask yourself if you have “Aces in their places”
  • 8. Change players.  If we have tried all of the above tactics and we still seem to have issues with a certain team member it may be time to accept reality and remove them from the team.  It is amazing how much of an impact just one bad apple can have on the entire team.  The short term pain of holding someone accountable is way easier than the long term impact of letting it slide.  Again, we can only hold people accountable if we have clearly communicated our expectations.  
  • I hope these tactics help improve your daily results by increasing the level of communication.

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