I have a friend who has five rules for his team meetings:
- Show Up
- Be Present (This is different from showing up…it means you engage in the actions of the meeting.)
- Communicate Openly
- Let go of outcomes (Once you communicate openly it is not your idea anymore it becomes the property of the team.)
- Have fun.
When I was challenged to verbalize the leadership behaviors I wanted to model, Open Communication was one of the first things on my list. The more I work at modeling this behavior, the more I realize that communicating openly is often about not saying a word but listening to what others have to say. This is something I am still working on. I have and will continue to challenge the people I work with to hold me accountable to this behavior.
Yes, there really is a difference from showing up to a meeting and being present, whether that is a one-on-one discussion or in a group of people.
Being present means that I am actively engaging in what is going on and demonstrating that I care about the agenda. Okay…I have put this thought out there so anyone who is meeting with me now has permission to challenge me if I am not present in the conversation. (Side note: in this age of technology, the technology can be counterproductive to being present. I am going to work on this and try to ignore the emails, text or phone calls while trying to communicate.)
There is another side to open communication that applies to being a leader and that is sharing with the team you lead your vision and dreams and doing it often. I cannot expect the team I lead to read my mind so I must talk to them and talk to them often about where we are headed. When I do this I believe there will be buy-in and also they will be able to communicate the vision and direction to the people they lead.
Communicating the vision also calls for direct communication of the expectations for each person on the team. I have been guilty of expecting my team to understand my expectations of them without having a dialog with them on these items. This is really unfair and something that I am changing.
Communicating expectations also gives great opportunities for encouraging team members when they are fulfilling what is expected of them. (Doing this often is a must…another area I am working on.) And just as verbalizing expectations gives opportunities for praise, it also gives the opportunity for guidance when expectations are not met.
Bottom line…communicate openly!
this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other.
I speak with all sincerity; I speak the truth.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.