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Seven Tips for Effective Leadership Communication

Updated: Jan 20

This week, I trained a group of leaders who wanted to explore tips for better communication across the teams.

Since self-awareness is a pre-requisite for change, we spent time exploring the leaders' preferred communication patterns, while also considering the preferred communication patterns of their team members.

According to their DISC profiles, all the leaders used a "high D-Dominance" communication style.

Characteristics of this style include:

  • A focus on results and outcomes

  • A preference for quick, fast results, which translates to their somewhat "staccato" speaking style

  • Feeling restless with "down time," preferring to fill that time with tasks/outcomes/results

  • Tendencies toward control, power and assertiveness

  • Confident, outspoken, assertive and decisive

We spent time considering when this style is most helpful, especially during times of crisis. We also discussed where this style, under stress, can actually create communication chaos, unless the leader is self-aware. I referred to this as the "style's blind spot." There were several "ah-ha's" during this part of the discussion.

Since I also have a "High D" style, I was able to provide seven specific tips for this style to have better communication outcomes, not only at work but also outside of work.

  1. Build in time for small talk. Others need it. Watch how it impacts outcomes.

  2. You thrive in crisis, but pick your battles. Not everything is a battle. Don’t treat it like one.

  3. Others don't make decisions as quickly as you do, as their strengths lie in considering more details/a broader perspective. Find opportunities to build in time between when you present the plan and when you need a decision. (It may only be 10 minutes, or it may need to be days or a week, depending on the size of the decision and the research needed.)

  4. There is a difference between people asking questions and you feeling like you are "being questioned."

  5. If you have to deliver and decide in the same meeting, expect escalated emotions and ongoing questions. Gracefully address each, recognizing that this is part of another style’s process and not a personal attack.

  6. Show appreciation. Let others know that you recognize their efforts and appreciate their perspective and the value it brings. Practice praise.

  7. When they felt they were moving into their "blind spot," where they were wanting to jump in, take control, move things along, or take over (though that may not be the right solution), asking this question: What do I want most, RIGHT NOW: CONTROL or CONNECTION?

At the end of the session, I asked each leader for their biggest takeaway. There were several, though this one stood out.

I know that group is now more self-aware than before, and it will lead to better outcomes the more the leaders lean into applying what they learned.

For more helpful communication tips, check out my blog on The Platinum Rule for Effective Communication.


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