Communicating is an art! Some leaders have mastered this art. They pretty much can figure out how to present a message and a key factor that gets overlooked, “when.” For me, I know that I have a speed issue. When I am playing sports – I want to win. I want to be one of the fasters on my skates (I know it is not true). When a race to the puck is in order, I will put that extra gear in place. When I am driving from point A to point B, I am usually going faster than the posted speed limit (just not in a school zone).
As a leader, you have to make sure that the message and the timing of the message line up. Think of your team, most of them want to know everything that is going on. They probably want to understand your take on it as well. So, what do you communicate and when? There is no way that you can do everything, every time. Just not possible. Thinking of communication I have always had a couple of priorities with my teams.
- Top priority usually is anything that is mission critical. The stuff that your team needs to know in order to accomplish their work. This is everything that will be necessary to get my team to perform at their best in their related job. Get it out there with a strong message and speed in mind.
- Most of secondary priority is that information that helps my team be an advocate for our organization. Think of it as the communications that helps build pride and morale while building our organizational story. Strong message that goes out when necessary, but quickly.
When I look at this deeper, it comes across that just about everything that I have ever communicated fits within these buckets nicely. As I am helping with coaching some new managers, I see this as a struggle for them. Too many mixed messages going out. Speed of the information is either too fast or most of the time, too late. As a leader, you have to make sure that you are taking into account the message and the timing that is necessary to make the message effective.
Lately, I have been watching others and seeing the struggles with timing. Most of the time, the communication has been late or missed the window. Your team is watching you! Get It Right!