Last month, we discussed Defining Your Vision and prior to that, we talked about Becoming a Leader. It is really important to follow those steps before moving on to the next level in your Leadership Development. Staff communications and building staff morale are the most common issues that I am asked to help with. In a team setting - a vision, a mission and a set of goals are wasted unless the entire team is intimately familiar with them all.
To have a unified and motivated team there must be a deliberate system of communication. The system needs to include opportunities for everyone to listen AND to share.
Follow these steps to develop a strong communication system within your organization:
1) Commit - In order to have excellent staff communications, you first have to commit to success. There will be challenges and roadblocks to your goals, but once you have committed, you will continue to adapt until you have a strong system.
2) Decide what to Communicate - Meetings without agendas soon turn into "complaint sessions". Decide the purpose of the communications overall then break it into little bites that can be spread out over time. (See the next article for an idea to get started.)
3) Develop a Communication Plan - Every organization is different and needs a different blueprint of communications. Some practices are run by family members, others have multiple locations and some are staffed by primarily part time people. Look at several options of methods to communicate and pick the best. Some tools you can use are meetings (before, during or after office hours), e-mails, message boards, conference calls, video conferencing, etc. Beware - There is not a perfect plan and that is ok. (Click here to see the plan for my practice.)
4) Implement the Plan - You have taken the time to carefully develop a communication plan. Now start. I recommend a little at a time.
5) Adjust the Plan - Your first try will not be perfect and even if it is, it will not stay perfect. It is important that you schedule a time to make adjustments to your plan.
This may sound complicated and that's because it IS complicated. It is a critical component of becoming an effective leader and is worth the effort. The rewards are a motivated, dedicated and aligned staff and will come with time. Stick with it.