The Language of Leadership: How well do your employees understand you?

At Boston Global, we spend a lot of time working with leaders and teams to improve communication. For many CEO’s, this can be less about what you’re saying and more about what employees are hearing. Language is an extremely powerful tool to galvanize and empower teams. But, even the most compelling language is useless if your employees aren’t getting the message or don’t know how to transmit that message to customers.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, MIT Research Fellow Michael Schrage discusses this issue in detail. He makes some compelling and helpful points for leaders:

Ambiguity is the enemy
Language is subjective by nature. If your company is global, it’s important to make sure that the message isn’t getting lost in translation. And speaking the same language isn’t a guarantee you’ll be understood. Be gracious; but be clear and concise.

Focus on playback
To discover if managers are getting the message, listen to how they transmit it to others. How do they talk about the company within their own teams? To customers? If you’re communicating effectively and setting the right tone, you should also hear employees build and improve upon the message over time.

Spend as much time listening as you do speaking
In order to accomplish the previous goal, listening is key. Are you really hearing what your employees are saying? Becoming a better listener can help you test your own effectiveness and even generate new ideas that help your company narrative evolve.

A great way to begin to improve your effectiveness is through a 360 & Communication Review. This allows you to gather honest feedback from people you work with to discover what might be holding you back and how you can move forward.