Communicating in UncommunicativeTimes

18 Nov

Many clients are challenged in how best to communicate with their team members now. Many team members are also challenged because they feel “out of touch” with their leaders. Here are some excellent communication ideas for you from Kim Scott’s Radical Candor.  Remember: one of your most important roles as a leader is to communicate…especially during your current virtual working environment. In order to do this, you need to schedule time to do so…through meetings, 1:1’s, virtually “walking around” …so that you also have time to think and execute.

Schedule 1:1 Conversations

(25 minutes/week for direct reports and 25 minutes/month for all team members).

Note: If you have many team members, schedule these 1:1 Conversations quarterly. Team members will be more candid in 1:1’s than in “coffees” or “breakfasts.”

  • Have team members create their own agenda on what they want to talk to you about. It is not your meeting. It is theirs.
  • You as a leader listen. Team members should do most of the talking in these meetings.
  • You ask them what is working and what is not, seek to understand the direction they are going in and what is blocking them from getting there.
  • You ask them, “Is there anything I could do or stop doing to make your work easier?
  • Do not cancel these 1:1’s. These need to be a “sacred” part of the work you do as a leader. You will lose trust with your team if you schedule and then cancel.
  • Do not use these meetings to give them criticism. (If you need to criticize them, do it in real time in a separate, brief, timely interaction.)
  • You are failing as a leader if team members do not have an agenda to talk to you about, or only give you updates, or only give you good news, or give you no criticism.

Weekly Staff Meetings (60 minutes)

  • Review how things have gone the previous week.
  • Share important updates with one another.
  • Clarify most important decision discussions or debate discussions that need to occur that week

Agenda is as follows:

  • Learn:(20 minutes)
  • Review key metrics on a Dashboard Where Key Metrics are delineated and updated. if you do not have one…create one…” we treasure what we measure”.
  • Ask what went well and why; what did not and why?
  • Listen:(15 minutes)
  • Have each team member write 3 to 5 snippets (brief updates) from what they did last week on a piece of paper. (5-7 minutes).
  • Make sure everyone has a chance to read everyone else’s updates (8 minutes)
  • Note: right now you are probably having virtual meetings: have team members send their snippets out ahead of time to all team members for their review.
  • Ask if there are any questions for clarity…otherwise do not discuss the snippets at the meeting.
  • Clarify:(30 minutes)
  • Decisions: What topics do you need decisions on as a team?
  • Who should be in that decision meeting and when should you have it?
  • Who will own it? (Leaders should delegate this to their team members.)
  • Debates: What topics do you need to debate on?
  • Who should be in that debate meeting and when will you have it?
  • Who will own it? (Leaders should delegate this to their team members.)

Debate Meetings

  • These slow down decision-making and lower tension by making it okay to argue. The goal for the debate is to check your ego at the door and come up with the best answer for the organization. Halfway through the Debate Meeting, people switch sides.

Decision Meetings

  • These are to make the final decision. But decide how you are going to decide…consensus, consultative, majority, delegative.

Have All Hands Meetings regularly (be sure to take Qs and As).

Have KANBAN Boards

  • Each department should have one: visible boards that show work in progress for a team: There should be three columns on the boards: To Do/In Progress/Done. This can be displayed virtually also.

Walk Around (Virtually)

  • Schedule one hour per week to “zoom around” in our virtual environment…drop into meetings…

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