I was reminded recently how important it is to give people a voice—give people an opportunity to share their thoughts. So often in today’s world when we are using digital communications more frequently, we forget how valuable this is to team performance.
I am as guilty as anyone as I rush through the day multi-tasking ruthlessly from e-mails to texting to instant messages to web meetings and phone calls, etc. I quickly tap the keys and send a clipped message without thinking how the person on the other end may perceive the message.
I recall a business associate steaming over a colleague who constantly sent “e-mail grenades.” I can certainly relate to my colleague’s frustration as I have been there myself. STOP before you press send. Ask yourself how you would feel if you received your message. Ask yourself if you gave the recipient an opportunity to voice his or her opinion. It doesn’t take long. The results are priceless.
Giving people a voice is one of the most important things a leader can do to develop trust among his or her team members. When you ask someone else for their opinion, it makes them feel as if you value them as a human being. You may know the right answer or what you “think” is the right answer. But when you close your mind to others’ voices, creativity and innovative thinking are nearly nonexistent.
When people have no voices, growth and development is stunted. You will never be able to maximize peoples’ potential. When people have no voices, anger and conflict often results, slowing down or shutting down team results.
So, remember that there is a person on the other end of the digital communications you are sending. That person has feelings. That person has hopes, dreams and desires just like you do. Remember that even when using digital communications, craft it with respect for the “human-being” on the other end. Remember that you are “speaking” to that individual and sometimes your voice can be loud. Make your voice speak the language you want others to hear. Then you can create the high-functioning teams that lead your organization to success.
Copyright © 2011 by Patricia Hatley
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