What Happens When No One Communicates?

no communication

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” — Tony Robbins

Recently my son and his fiancé bought a new home. Several of us were pitching in to help them move. What should have been a simple task, especially since they had not acquired much at this point, turned into a chaotic, time consuming ordeal. Why? Simple, no one was communicating with anyone else. Everyone assumed that we were all on the same page and knew the plan. It turned out that there were six different pages and six different plans. My son and his fiancé weren’t even on the same page. If lack of communication can disrupt a simple, short-term task, what happens in your organization when no one communicates?

Differing priorities

As Tony Robbins points out in the above quote, we each perceive the world differently. Our perceptions help us to identify our priorities. When no one communicates, we all start making the assumption that we see the situation from the same perspective and therefore have the same priorities. Big mistake; without clear communication everyone becomes focused on what they determine are the priorities. When everyone has differing priorities it becomes difficult to get tasks completed in a timely manner.

Working against each other

An unintentional byproduct of differing priorities and lack of communication is that everyone seems to be working against each other. While each is focused on what is most important based on their view of the world, it is often to the detriment of others trying to accomplish their own priorities. Instead of working together, lack of communication breeds an “every man for himself” attitude.

Finger pointing

Once an atmosphere of “every man for himself” is created the finger pointing starts. Everyone thinks they are the ones following the plan. If things aren’t going according to the plan, it’s someone else’s fault. Just as in my son’s moving fiasco, the problem is there is NO shared plan, just a bunch of separate plans all interfering with each other.

Get on the Same Page: Communicate

The problems created by lack of communication compound over time. They start to wreak havoc in your operations and cause confusion and frustration. Yet, these problems are so easy to fix. Start communicating. Make sure everyone knows the plan and shares the same priorities. When you communicate and everyone is on the same page, simple tasks remain simple tasks, and long-term goals stay on-track.

What will you do today to improve communication in your organization?

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

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What is the Quality of Your Communication?

communication“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” —Yehuda Berg

Your communication can build others up, or it can tear them down. As a leader, it is your responsibility to teach, encourage, and support. These all require quality communication. Here are four keys to quality communication.

Trust

Are you friend or foe? This is the very first question that others will seek to answer before any communication takes place. If they determine you to be a friend, they will trust you and quality communication can take place. If you are a foe, there will be no trust and without trust, there will be no true communication.

Listen

Quality communication is a two-way street. If you want the other party to participate, you must listen. Listening requires you to set aside your assumptions, turn off that little voice in your head that likes to judge others, and truly hear what is being said. When you really listen to the ideas, concerns, and opinions of others your communications will become more meaningful.

Care

People are more open to quality communication if they know that you authentically care about them as an individual. No one likes to communicate with someone who is just going through the motions. When others know that you care about what they have to share and when they know you are looking out for their best interests, you will be able to communicate on a deeper level.

Follow-through

At the end of the day, all the communicating in the world does not matter if there is no follow-through. Never leave others wondering where things lie on an issue or idea. Have a follow-up conversation, even if it may not be what they want to hear. Follow-through shows respect and it is this respect that will improve the quality of conversations in the future.

True Communication

Have you checked your communication lately? The only true communication is quality communication. When others know they can trust you; when you really listen to them; when they know you care; and when they can count on you to follow-through, then, and only then, can you start to truly communicate. What is the quality of your communication? It’s about time you find out.

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

What Happens When You Don’t Listen?

telephone“The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success.” —James Cash Penney

We hear leadership experts incessantly harping on the importance of communication to effective leadership. But, is it going in one ear and out the other? There are two parts to communication. One, of course, being the sharing of information and emotions with others. The second being truly listening when others are sharing thoughts, ideas, feelings, and information. For some reason, the listening side of communication seems to be the hardest. So, what happens when you don’t listen?

Lack of empathy

When you don’t listen it’s impossible to have empathy. How can you determine how you would feel if you were in another’s shoes if you don’t listen to their details and emotions? Listening allows you to find points of connection with others on a deeper level; it allows you to empathize with their lived experiences.

Lack of understanding

When you don’t listen you miss out on gaining understanding. There is something you can learn from everyone you interact with but, you’re going to have to start listening. You never know, they might have insights to offer that you can’t see; you won’t know unless you listen.

Lack of appreciation

When you don’t listen others feel unappreciated. There is nothing that shows that you value someone more than truly listening to them. Listen without ulterior motives, without a prepared response, and without judgment shows true appreciation for who they are and what they have to share.

Lack of respect

When you don’t listen you show a blatant lack of respect. Turning a deaf ear sends the message that you think you know more than they do, that you see no value in what they may have to share, and that you don’t have enough respect for them to hear them out. Truly listening is an easy way to show respect for others and to earn their respect in return.

Start Listening

Communication is vital component in successful leadership. The importance of the listening side of the communication equation is often minimized because it is so easy to do, yet so easy not to do. When you don’t listen, it makes it impossible to empathize with others. You may also miss out on important information and insights. Listening shows others that you appreciate and value them. It is also a sign of respect. Maybe it’s time for you to start listening.

What step will you take today to show someone that you are truly listening?

© 2016 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Are You Earning Employee Commitment?

Client“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” —Vince Lombardi

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Vince Lombardi nailed it. But, your employees don’t owe you their commitment. As a leader, it is your responsibility to earn the commitment of those in your organization. Looking out for your employees and earning their commitment is not only good for them, it’s good for you, and it’s good for business. When employees are committed to you, as a leader, and the organization, they work willingly in the best interest of the whole. It eliminates the ‘I’m only in it for me’ attitude. Employees are willing to give their ‘all’ to a leader, a cause, and a vision that they believe in. So, how can you earn employee commitment?

Relationships

The relationships you build with your employees are going to be key in earning their commitment. These relationships cannot be merely superficial; you must develop them on an individual level. This means not only being interested in them professionally, but also personally. Your relationships have to be real, no faking. Employees will see straight through your façade. Be yourself with employees; let them get to know the real, imperfect you. Show them that you are interested in their well-being and personal growth. Meaningful relationships earn commitment, boost productivity, and inspire employees to give 110%.

Trust

There will be no commitment from your employees without trust. The loyalty you need from your employees requires trust that goes both ways. No games; no tricks. Your actions and words must be honest and consistent. Show your employees that you have their backs. Create and share key learning moments with them. Be open about your failures and weaknesses. Also, you must provide them with a safe place to fail and learn from their mistakes. Give them control over their own work tasks, showing that you trust and have confidence in their abilities.

Communication

Earning commitment from your employees takes a whole lot of open and ongoing communication. Communication is a tool for sharing the organization’s stories in a way that brings employees together to be part of something important. Communication allows you to convey how employees’ work contributes to the overall success of the organization. Communication is also a two-way street. Listen more than you speak. Pay close attention to what is being shared and make sure you are on the same page. Communication helps you to remove the barriers to trust, which helps build the relationships that earn employee commitment.

Engagement

People simply work harder and are more committed when they are allowed to use their talents. When your employees are engaged in their work, they are more likely to be motivated, to remain committed to your organization, and to stay focused on achieving shared goals. Engaged employees have a sense of purpose and know they are making a difference. When you engage your employees in their work, you challenge them, bring out the best in them, and offer them the opportunity to grow and develop.

Acknowledgement

And finally, if you want to earn the commitment of your employees, acknowledge their contributions and value. Your employees are your greatest resource, don’t take them for granted. Show them that they are part of something bigger than themselves, something meaningful and important.

Earn Their Commitment

To be successful you need every employee to be committed to the group effort. They do not owe you this commitment; it is yours only when you have earned it. So, build strong relationships, develop mutual trust, cultivate open and honest communication, create an engaging workplace, and acknowledge the value and contributions of every employee. That’s how you make it work.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Five Ways to Hear What Your Employees are Actually Saying

file000817447890“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” —Bryant H. McGill

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Why Listen?

Your employees have a huge impact on your day-to-day operations; what they have to say is important. The information that those on the front lines have to offer is extremely valuable. They are the ones with their fingers on the pulse of the organization. If you REALLY listen to what they have to say you might be able to head off problems early, learn something you don’t know, and get some great ideas. When employees know that you care about their point of view and value what they have to say, you build strong relationships and improve your organizational culture.

No ‘us vs. them’

If you want to hear what your employees actually have to say, you must eliminate any ‘us vs. them’ mentality in your organization. This mentality puts people in defensive mode. When we are on the defense, we are not even capable of higher order thinking let alone expressing ourselves in any meaningful way.

Stop talking

To actually hear what your employees are saying you must offer them multiple opportunities to communicate; a variety of settings and a variety of methods. Then, stop talking and listen. Show that you are attentive, ready and interested in what they have to say. When you aren’t focused on what you want to say, it opens the space to hear what others are saying and to notice what they’re not saying.

Ask questions

If you care about what your employees have to say, ask questions. Seems like common sense, but it doesn’t happen as often as it should. Ask what’s working and what’s not. Is there anything we should stop doing? What do we need to start doing? Ask them for input and feedback. And, don’t just ask work related questions; ask how they are doing. Let them know you care about them personally. Encourage them to ask you questions. Be honest with them. When you learn to ask the right questions you can get to the core of what your employees are actually saying.

Acknowledge what you’ve heard

One of the biggest factors in hearing what your employees are actually saying is acknowledging what you’ve heard. Verify that you understand what they are saying and demonstrate that you can see it from their perspective. Give them the opportunity to elaborate when necessary. Express appreciation for the information and feedback they provide.

Watch their energy

If you want to REALLY understand what your employees are saying, watch their energy. Their energy will send non-verbal information that helps you, as the listener, tap into what is really behind their words. Are they energetic and positive, showing passion? Are they subdued, showing lack of hope? Do they appear scattered, showing frustration or stress? The most productive conversations take place when you work together to build positive energy.

What are They Actually Saying?

Hearing what your employees are actually saying takes consistent effort. You can’t just be open to listening once in a while, it must be constant. You must eliminate even the perception of an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. You must stop talking. You need to ask the right questions. Acknowledge what you’ve heard. You must watch their energy with as much attention as you listen. You must learn to hear what is not being said as much as what is being said. In most communication there is more substance behind the words than is contained in the words. Care enough to hear what your employees are actually saying.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Six Reasons Why Your Employees Don’t Believe a Word You Say

employees

By Doug Dickerson and Elizabeth Stincelli

“Don’t believe what I say. Believe what I do.” —Carlson Ghosn

Two psychiatrists meet at their 20th college reunion. One is vibrant, while the other looks withered and worried. “So what’s your secret?” the older looking psychiatrist asks. “Listening to other people’s problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has made an old man of me.” “So,” replies the younger looking one, “who listens?”

That humorous story reminds us as leaders of not just the necessity of listening but of the importance of how we communicate. It’s not so much what we say that’s important but that we are leaders who understand why our people should listen to us in the first place.

If your people are tuning you out and not believing what you say then your leadership is on life-support. Knowing the symptoms is the first step in turning things around. If your people don’t believe a word you say then here are six reasons why.

You are self-centered

If you are a self-centered leader your people will not believe you because you are only looking out for yourself. When decisions are made based upon what is best for you –what makes you look good- then you are using your people. Self-centered leadership tends to be manipulative and puts what is best for you above what is best for the team. If you are a self-centered leader you’d better wake up before it’s too late. One day you will look around and you’ll discover that not only are your people not believing you – they are not following you either.

You are inconsistent

Inconsistent actions produce inconsistent results. The flow and continuity of your leadership is essential to your success. If you say one thing and do another then those very actions will lead to mistrust and will marginalize your leadership. Flexibility is a must for any team moving forward. Unexpected things happen and your people will have to learn to go with the flow. But if you are inconsistent in terms of what you communicate or how you treat them it will be impossible for them to move forward or have faith in your leadership.

You don’t have their backs

Nothing will empower your team faster than having the backs of your people. A good leader knows this. But your people will not believe you if your message to them says “I have your back” yet you are nowhere to be found when they need you. When you empower your people and have their backs you create a momentum that can take your team to new levels of success. Don’t squander the drive, motivation, and ingenuity of your people by failing at this one critical element of your leadership. If you have the backs of your people they will have yours.

Your ego is front and center

If, as a leader, your ego is front and center, your employees won’t believe a word you say. Your ego can prevent you from seeing the world as it really is; you begin interpreting reality through your own biased lens. When your ego is front and center you send the message that your opinion is the only one that matters. Soon your employees, tired of hearing about how you know everything, will stop listening to you at all.

You lead with fear

If you lead with fear you will never earn the trust of your employees and they won’t believe a word you say. Fear stimulates the fight or flight response. In this state of mind, there is no higher-level cognitive thinking. When you lead with fear your employees disengage and become more focused on protecting themselves than what you are saying. Your attempt to control your employee’s behavior through fear will result in distrust and will undermine your ability to share your message and vision.

They don’t feel valued

Our success is deeply intertwined with our ability to collaborate. When your employees don’t feel valued they lose interest in continuing to try to contribute to the team. They withdraw and you lose the value of their unique skills and knowledge. Your employees need to have a voice and to have their individual contributions recognized and valued. Communication is a two-way street and when your employees don’t feel valued, you lose their respect which has a negative impact your ability to communicate and influence as a leader. When your employees don’t feel valued they won’t believe a word you say.

The key to leadership is trust and influence. If your people don’t believe a word you say, you have lost your ability to lead. It’s time to evaluate your leadership. Is your leadership self-centered or inconsistent? Do you have your employee’s backs? Is your ego front and center? Are you leading with fear? Do your people feel valued? Answer these questions honestly, make a change, and start leading today.

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© 2015 Doug Dickerson and Elizabeth Stincelli

Doug Dickerson is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, columnist, and author. For more information about his books and speaking engagements visit Dougdickerson.wordpress.com

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Why Can’t Your Employees Talk to You?

“You don’t get unity by ignoring the questions that have to be faced.” —Jay Weatherill

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM

Why?

Every one of you is probably thinking “This doesn’t apply to me. My employees are always welcome to talk to me.” Guess what? Many of you would be surprised to find that your employees would disagree with you. And, when your employees aren’t talking to you, you miss out on the information and questions that can bring unity and success to your organization. So, why can’t your employees talk to you?

Ego

Robin S. Sharma explained, “Leadership is not a popularity contest; it’s about leaving your ego at the door.” It’s easy to fall into the mindset that your ideas have worked in the past so why do you need to listen to employees’ input now. Do you think you know what employees and customers want; that you know what’s best for them? When you let you ego go unchecked, you send the signal throughout your organization that there is no point in trying to talk to you. You come across as untrustworthy and disrespectful. You send the message that you think your employees are incompetent and their opinions are of little value. If you want your employee to talk to you, leave your ego at the door.

Fear

Charles Stanley believes, “Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation.” I’m not talking about your employees’ fear, I’m talking about yours. Are you are afraid of what you will hear, that you might have to take on a challenge? Are you more comfortable maintaining the status quo than having to question it? When you let your fear interfere with being open to hearing what your employees have to say, you may be causing your organization and your leadership to stagnate. Your fear often causes you to become defensive, sending the message that you’re not open to listening to the ideas and perspectives of others. If you want your employees to talk to you, recognize your fear and turn it into curiosity.

Laissez-faire leadership

James Caan said, “My least favorite phrase in the English language is ‘I don’t care’.” Are you a laissez-faire leader? Or maybe a better question is, are you perceived as a laissez-faire leader? Are you so hands-off that your employees question whether or not you even care? Recognize that there is a difference between trusting your employees to operate without undue interference from you, as a leader, and not wanting to be bothered with the issues or concerns of your employees. If you want your employees to talk to you, make sure they know that you care about what they have to say.

Make a Change

Robert Baden-Powell told us, “If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.” The key to effective leadership is influence, and others will be more open to influence when they feel they have been heard. Chances are you don’t even realize that you are perceived as not willing to listen. Keep your ego in check, don’t let fear stand in the way of what you might learn by listening, and make sure your employees know that you care about what they have to say. Sometimes, as a leader, there are challenges and questions that have to be faced. Make a change and ensure that your employees CAN talk to you.

© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli

Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.