Do You Really Need to Adapt Your Style?

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you hear more. One of my CEO clients asked me – with some exasperation – why he had to adapt his style to communicate more effectively with his employees.

I share this story because this person is intelligent, passionate, and goal-driven. But, he has an abrupt demeanor and his acerbic delivery puts off the people who work for him. We’ve worked on this issue of effective communication for months, but he hasn’t processed its importance as a priority in his professional development.

In the particular situation that triggered our discussion, an employee did not understand his request. Instead of trying to explain it differently, he shouted at her. He was frustrated because he didn’t understand why she didn’t comprehend his request.

Two of his direct reports witnessed this interaction and gave him the (unsolicited) feedback that his delivery was way too aggressive. He then came whining to me asking if there was anything wrong with what he did.

I emphasized (for the umpteenth time) the importance of clear communication using simple language and a professional tone. I also talked about how he needed to walk in their shoes. He didn’t get it; he responded what he would do if he was in their shoes.

Leaders need to ensure that their employees understand what they are saying, and reciprocally, they need to understand their employees’ perspective. If you want your employees to be more effective in adapting their styles to yours, you need to invest in and provide the training to make that happen.

This CEO’s leadership footprint will always be flawed unless he really grasps the importance of effective communication and practices it – not just checking a box on a checklist and declaring “now I’m an effective communicator”.

If any of this touches a chord with you, please feel free to reach out for a conversation of how I might be helpful to someone you know.

Have a great week!

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