Yes, you are the boss, but how you talk still matters. In fact, it means more now than ever. Whether it is your team, your leadership, or your client, how you communicate is a direct representation of who you are. You want people to view you as professional, yet approachable. Refrain from using slang, or inappropriate language of any kind. Speak as though your mother is in the room and gain the respect you deserve.
Be Clear in Communication
You give your team assignments, advice, and information every day, but do they truly understand you? You are probably speaking their “language”, but do they understand your expectations? Let your team ask questions before you send them off to complete the task. An extra five minutes of clarification is better than the time, and money, that is potentially lost if an employee is doing something wrong because they felt rushed to begin.
Oh No! The Boss Wants to Talk to Me!
Betty’s boss walked in to her office just as she was about to clock out for lunch. All she could think was, “He knows I take lunch every day at this time! What did I do wrong? Why is he in here?” Betty ran everything she did that morning through her mind, checked it all off again and again, and broke out in a sweat as she waited for the proverbial pink slip to be handed to her. Surely, she must have messed up somewhere! Her boss said, “Would you mind getting me a coffee while you’re out? And get yourself one too. Here’s my card.” This is not an actual story, but it certainly could be. When you approach your team, lead off with an ice breaker so they do not feel as though you are questioning their work. It is nerve-wracking enough having your boss walk in – make sure they know you are pleased with what they are doing!
No Man is an Island
You and your team are busy and a client calls with an ASAP project. You get them together to discuss the plan, and you remind them that you are all a team. When one falls, the other is there to pick them right back up. Find who has the strengths for each part of the project and assure them all of you are in this together. Give them ownership of their projects, allowing for a sense of pride to flourish.
When Jimmy Isn’t Playing Nice
Your team needs to perform, but sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes, the attitude of a team member gets in the way. Address this immediately in the way which that employee would be receptive. Your presence might be all that is needed, or you might need to call them aside and have a discussion. Either way, nip the attitude in the bud. A successful team has no elevated egos.
Take a Breath!
A long-winded team member can slow the team down, so you may have to get involved. Ask them to be brief, give bullets, or a simple summary. Ask in a professional manner and use tact. Tell them there is a sense of urgency and let them know the deadline. Be clear when laying out your expectations so you do not leave room for interpretation.