How to Lead by Communicating

One of the guiding principles in life is this: You have to talk (interactively) -- to learn, to make deals, motivate and succeed -- by communicating with people. Everyone should, but especially leaders need to get out among the people, staff and work forces.


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    Don’t waste time standing or sitting around on the sidelines or at the back—spying, looking/watching—when you're off the front lines of work, play or school. While your team, technicians, producers, sales force are out there, be there communicating and continually engaging with the entire collection of teams—each from bottom to top.
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    Talk with production and sales people; not just their managers. Pump customer service for ideas, and prime the office-mates, warehouse-men, and others—individually and in groups, communicating together. Tune in to ideas and build them.
    • Relational management builds relationships: synergistic energies/connections with minds and emotions of the employees. It primes the feeling of loyalty to the business and a vestment in the desire to improve the processes and mechanisms. Individuals tend to be more accountable to the management with whom they have relationships beyond just their daily work duties, particularly when the individuals are fully-valued.
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    Ask helpful, reasonable questions and openly receive the friendly answers. Listen to what your coworkers are seeing in their part of the work, school or game. Listen to what they're thinking and get inside those thoughts with a high level of empathy.
    • Learn what is happening out there in the trenches! What was or is each of the other team or company marketers doing that you could latch on to and extend as well? What trends, strengths and weaknesses does each man see in the competition?
    • Try "walking the floor" where you can learn from the employees on the line what really is going on and how to improve things.
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    Get outside your comfort zone: Circulate, meet new faces and idea sets.—Find out what everyone is thinking and dreaming. Do this all the time even if associates are uncomfortable going around the room and meeting others. This is fun, engaging, and expanding to the soul and to the mind. You will likely find that you improve mental and social flexibility and also a develop facility in targeting critical insights, then capitalizing upon them.
    • Work together, to hone your goals and plans. Encourage teammates to give you the input and feedback that's needed to make the right calls, decisions.
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    Cash in the value of insight gained by talking to formalize and expand plans—big and small—that you can press into execution successfully. Prime the idea flow by constantly talking with different people, by listening to what they say and then by working together to crystallize their view of a super path forward. It isn’t your place to draw up the "vision" of (and for) your enterprise all on your own. The team wins when everyone is talking to and engaging with a variety of team members. Honor the knowledge that each great idea starts with a conversation between two people and grow using the natural feed of energy by that continuing relationship.
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    Talk business with people in your team or office, by talking with all of them in groups and many individually, some every day. Know what they’re doing to improve, what they’re thinking about the business, what their ideas are.
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    Trust your people to give you the feedback and insight that will help you grow the business. Trust their expertise in their jobs, in all the different aspects that come together to make your organization succeed. Your team can’t excel without everyone believing, contributing and sharing their ideas and thoughts.
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    Encourage people talking to each other about improving various phases of the organization. You never know what ideas might emerge when two people in different parts of the organization are talking about improving things that they’re doing. Putting ideas together is where creative thinking (synthesizing) and innovation comes from.
    • Use social network technology, too, but realize that in order to be able to contribute to communicating in a very effective way, it takes person-to-person conversations: They are the building blocks of innovation.
    • At trade shows and conventions, don't spend much time standing around with comfortable acquaintances, people you already know.—Get out and engage in fresh ideas by opening yourself to alternative views. Let the breeze of change cleanse the stasis of your enterprise.—Bring to your core the realization that the life and vitality of your company walks hand-in-hand with its ability to grasp, envision, and integrate many facets of continuous change—both globally and locally—and everything in between.


  • If you don't do a lot of advertising, always take the time to talk to the people with whom you do business, actually talking with people—not just about business or the weather, but about life. Build loyalty.
  • Quality management (QM) works well when it uses lower level process information derived from conversation to communicate and formalize how best to improve the organization. (Make sure to draw from group conversations as well as individual conversations.)

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Categories: Leadership and Mentoring