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Set Your Communication Systems

The Leader's 3-2-1: Three Insights, Two Questions, One Statistic.


Feedback Series (Pt. 1): Set Your Communication Systems Learn feedback skills that hold others accountable, establish clear expectations, and coach others to optimal performance. See previous: Preview


Giving feedback is a communication skillset that provides others useful data about their performance and progress towards a goal, on opportunities for growth and on current displays of excellence. The constructive criticism aspect of feedback is where many hesitate. The step leaders often miss in order to critique with confidence: setting up communication systems and habits for clarity of expectations and for building of relational trust. Invest time in the systems you and your employee need to succeed in understanding and trusting each other. I'm not saying everything needs to be perfect before offering feedback. But, I am saying that having foundations in place will set the stage for clarity and confidence. Establish your communication systems in 3-2-1:

Three Insights

Establish Clear Expectations

A sneaky mistake clients often report back to me is realizing they had been hopping right into a feedback conversation or spur-of-the-moment correction without building a shared framework for what successful performance looks like. To manage performance well, set training meetings that clearly articulate three things: what success looks like in your worker's role or goal, what success doesn't look like, and what education or training they will need to be successful.

Self-coaching to establish clear expectations:

  • What actions have you taken to create shared understanding for clear expectations? Currently, what's working? What's not working?

  • It's never to late to clarify - who do you need to circle back with and reconnect on what success looks like moving forward?

Establish Habitual Checkpoints

Those you manage need consistent, reliable access to you and the information they need to succeed. Maintain a regular 1:1 meeting or check-in schedule to stay curious and coach-like about your worker's approach to your established expectations, to ask what support is needed, and to make adjustments to definitions of success where necessary. Consistent face time (whether virtual or in-person) also helps create a sense of connection, trust and support.

Self-coaching to establish habitual checkpoints:

  • What do consistent checkpoints look like for your role?

  • What are small ways you can generate consistent face time with your team?

Establish Habitual Information Delivery

Normalize and embrace repetition as part of the communication process. As one of my favorite authors Nedra Glover Tawwab says: repeating yourself is a healthy part of communication. Habitually remind and update your team on expectations in a way that can be documented and stored. Use a platform most appropriate to your industry and personnel needs. Examples: when I managed thirty part-time staff, this looked like a weekly email. When I managed two part-time staff, this looked like weekly updates in a Microsoft Teams group.

Self-coaching for habitual information sharing:

  • What platform works best to share and store consistent expectations reminders and updates?

  • What frequency of sharing will serve you and your team best?

TWo questions

What will you delegate, discard or outsource from your to-do list to make time for communication systems?

Thriving leaders shift their mindset from doer to leader. Being a clear, kind and mindful communicator takes time, energy and intention. Re-balance your duties with this to-do list audit.

Where are consistent points of drama?

Drama, disengagement and unproductive conflict will happen when roles, goals and expectations are unclear and where there is distrust. What roles, goals or expectations need more clarity and connection to dissolve that drama?



One Statistic

2.5x + 2 in 10

“Employees who strongly agree that their manager holds them accountable for their performance are 2.5x more likely to be engaged," …Yet: “Only about 2 in 10 employees strongly agreed that their performance was managed in a way that motivated them to do outstanding work.” -Gallup



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