Many executives dread the responsibility of writing those regular monthly or quarterly employee updates. They cringe at the thought of spinning the numbers and building the “pep talk” into the updates.
As many younger managers begin the rise to executive status, we are finding people who are more comfortable than ever before with the casualness of written and online communications. And while the new breed of executives may have mastered the art of producing content, that is not the same as delivering messages that inspire.
Experienced and new managers alike need to master a few basic steps to strike the balance between stiff, dry missives and too light, too shallow twittersplaining.
Approach the communications as a person, not as the boss. Show up as a real person and be open about your thoughts. Tell your team what’s going well and what are areas of concern.
Use plain language, rather than inside corporate-speak. The choice of your language will determine if people find you approachable.
Use a story. People will find your message much more memorable if you relate it to an experience of your own. You can also use another person’s story, if it is someone people know or admire.
Talk about the “meaning” or the lesson of this story. Connect the dots so that your teams understand the reason you chose to discuss it. Think about the emotion you want people to feel after they have read your letter.
Ask for feedback. And be serious and curious. Make sure that you have established a vehicle for collecting and responding to the feedback and ideas you receive. Once employees see that you are genuinely interested in learning more about their suggestions, you will have created one of the most powerful mechanisms for loyalty and motivation.
Authentic management communications has the power to do much more than update the community. It can help to create the culture that gets the best out of everyone. But leaders have to be the first example.
Show up. Be real. Only then will everyone on your team do the same.