As a leader, knowing that your team members, colleagues and clients have full transparency of what you are talking about is crucial for a successful business. What does it mean to use clear language? Is it damaging to assume that everyone already knows what you are talking about? Today, I’m giving you detailed insight and examples that explain why using clear language in entrepreneurship leads to success.
Let’s go back to the basics for a second. As an entrepreneur, you are in the service business. Not only are you serving your clients, but also your team members and colleagues.
As a servant leader, communication is vital to get what you want and essential for your team to do their jobs well. I work daily on strengthening communication with my team and clients.
A Realization about Communication
While talking with my partner, Rachel, one night, I had a realization about my communication tactics. I tend to get overly excited about any new team member or new business partnership, which sounds great. But, Rachel made me realize that it was doing more harm than good.
She explained, “If everyone is the greatest person you’ve ever met, how do you differentiate them?” What makes them so great? How do they compare to other team members? This question caused me to shift my thinking into more specific communication.
Instead of saying something like “this person is really smart”, be more specific by adding some of their strengths like “this person is well-read and has excellent communication skills” or “this person is an excellent writer and a hard worker.”
Not only will it help differentiate people’s skillsets, but it will also help you grow as a leader. Keeping track of the specific attributes of your team and colleagues will help you establish stronger relationships and streamline business processes.
Transparency and Feedback
It is hard to maintain full transparency in business communication, so I encourage you to praise team members when they ask questions or request more information.
As a leader, it is easy to become closed off and isolated from your team, but they are your most valued asset. Welcome feedback whenever possible and ask for it if necessary. Feedback is crucial for your growth as a leader and a business owner.
For the past couple of years, I have made a point of implementing better communication systems within my business, highlighting the stoplight method as a vital tool for my team.
Have you ever been asked to complete a task and you did not fully understand what you were supposed to do? Did you ask questions or just blindly say “yes” and try to figure it out on your own? While everyone is guilty of this at some point, the stoplight method works to open up that line of communication.
Now, when I ask a team member to complete a task, I ask them, “how well do you understand what I am asking you to do?”, with the color red meaning they have no idea what I’m talking about, yellow meaning they kind of get it but need more information and green meaning they fully understand the task.
Not only does this method allow for better communication between myself and my team, but it also allows me to gain feedback on my communication skills. Learning how my team responds to my requests allows me to shift my focus to more specific descriptions, rather than assuming.
Don’t Assume Things
Going along with this idea, assumptions lead to generalization which may affect the end result of a particular project. The more specific you are as a leader, the more specific your deliverables will be.
You do not want your team to have to re-do something because the instructions were not clear. Having clear deliverables will strengthen your team, company and you as a leader.
So, when asking for something from your team or meeting with a business colleague, ask yourself, “Am I assuming things?” “Am I assuming that they understand me?”, and ask more questions accordingly.
This practice ties into strengthening your relationships, which is also a vital part of entrepreneurial growth.
Using clear language is a key aspect of servant leadership. Not only will it allow you to serve your audience better, but you will also have better communication within your team and strengthen your skills as a leader.
I hope that my realization about communication can also help you strengthen your team’s work. Contact me with any and all entrepreneurial questions.