Just last week, one of my clients asked his employee to revise a proposal that will be sent to a client. Annoyed, the guy said “What for? I thought I was the lead on this account.”
Does this conversation sound familiar?
Assert Your Authority
Most leaders believe in the power of brainstorming and teamwork, but the problem is, some employees tend to mistake their open-mindedness for weakness. Just because you’re polite and open to suggestions, doesn’t mean that everything you say may be questioned!
As a leader, you must hone your business communication skills so people working with you will know how to differentiate between a directive and a request.
Does it mean making every deadline non-negotiable? Should you stop taking suggestions from your team?
Here’s a Better Idea: Change the Way You Communicate
Be careful with your choice of words and tone of voice. Consider the following:
“It would be great if you could submit your work by lunch tomorrow.”
“I’ll expect your work tomorrow on or before lunch.”
“Please edit your report for Client A, make it more compelling.”
“Your report for Client A isn’t convincing enough, can you please revise it?”
Both statements mean practically the same thing, but the second statements can be interpreted as a suggestion, while the first one is a clear order.
As for your tone of voice, make sure that your voice is loud and clear when you’re talking. This isn’t the time to be shy, so just man up, and look them in the eye when you’re talking.
What if my support staff is stubborn?
Use this simple rebuttal formula. Let’s go back to the second example:
You: “Please edit your report for Client A, make it more compelling.”
Employee A: “Why? It took me 3 days to complete that report, Employee B says it’s great.”
This is a typical excuse. Employee complains, saying that it already took forever to complete the work then segues to add the opinion of someone else to back up his claim.
You: I understand that it takes a lot of time to create a report1, but it needs to be revised2 because it doesn’t have substantial proof to back up the results you’re claiming3”
Let’s dissect this simple formula:
1. Empathize – Show that you understand how they feel by repeating what they said.
2. Reiterate your request – “it needs to be revised”
3. Give a specific reason – the reason should be specific, objective, and reasonable. Don’t just say “because I want you to revise it.”
Using imperatives doesn’t equate to rudeness though, so make sure you add “please” or “kindly” when possible. The same applies when you’re using the rebuttal formula above. If anyone in your staff continues to argue after you’ve provided a reasonable objection, then it’s time to remind him of your position. This is your last resort; don’t use this argument often because doing so will appear as if you’re abusing your power.
Your business communication skills will affect your relationship with your team and image as a leader. Does your voice have a certain air of authority? Do you sound like you know what you’re doing? If you do, then you’ll have no problems getting people to do what you asked.
The best way to have a good year is by living life on a daily basis, letting the good days accumulate, one by one. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s to resolve to have a good year. Start anytime. Today, for instance.
- Take time, slow down. Be present in your life and mindful of the present.
- Care for your body, eat well, exercise, treat yourself to loving, nurturing self-care.
- Spend quality time with family and friends. Communicate, keep in touch. Say I love you. Tell people you appreciate them.
- Take time throughout the day to renew yourself. Take a walk, read a poem or a good book, listen to music (really listen); bring beauty into your life. On a monthly basis, take a whole day for yourself — play, treat yourself to something you want to do; retreat from your daily life. Mark these special days on your calendar (in ink) so you’ll be certain to take them.
- Clean up what needs to be cleaned up. Make amends, fix what’s broken, clear away clutter, forgive what needs to be forgiven and let go.
- Commit to a project you really want to do or to learning something new or attaining something you want. Commitment is the first step. Then set achievable goals and work toward them on a daily basis.
- Give yourself to a cause, volunteer at a nonprofit organization, a community group, your church or lend a hand to an individual or family who could use your help.
- Practice your spirituality in whatever form you express it, on a daily basis.
- Laugh every day.
- Take time to dream.
Wishing you a healthy, successful and joyful 2017!
To Your Success,