Leaders use language to inform, inspire and persuade. When trying to understand organisational culture, words are vital.
The way people talk about their work and how they speak with co-workers all help to define the culture. Employees want to feel valued, encouraged, and respected. Therefore, when communicating with individuals or groups, try to use language that reflects these needs.
The current world situation with COVID-19 has put many employees on edge. One of the principal things staff want is to know they have security. The more a leader can offer a sense of security, the more receptive employees will be. However, leaders need to be careful not to over promise. But saying that you “aim to have no redundancies”, will go a long way to removing some of their insecurity.
Flexibility is the one enduring factor that will get us through the current world crisis. From government imposed social-distancing regulations to remote working. We must all have flexibility. The more you use the word “flexible” and back it up with action, the more reassuring your message will be.
The key catchphrase at the moment is that “we’re all in this together”. That equals community, and it is your role to ensure that your staff feel that sense of community at work. This includes those working remotely. In fact, it is even more important to ensure they feel they are part of a work community right now. This will stop your remote employees feeling isolated and becoming disengaged.
We all want to know that we are being listened to. As such, the more you say things like, “I’m listening”, the better the message you are communicating will be. Moreover, if staff feel they are not being listened to, the more disengaged they become. And the more disengaged people become, the less productive they are.
It is hard for employees to remain optimistic when they look at the current situation around the world. As such, it is vital that leaders provide that optimism for them. Engendering optimism in your team increases the likelihood of positive results. And the more optimistic the leader, the better.
Employees will expect that they will have to make a certain amount of sacrifice. But when you’re talking about sacrifice, make sure you’re talking about shared sacrifice. This means addressing issues like saving money on wages as temporary pay cuts for all rather than redundancies for a few. It is vital to include yourself in the discussions about sacrifice. Otherwise you risk dissention in the ranks.
7. Please and thank you.
Okay, we know these are three words, not one. However, they go hand-in-hand and need to be used in the same conversations. There are studies that suggest people are more persuaded by polite arguments and instructions. Rather than similar directions given with little regard for politeness. These words cost you nothing, so if they give you even the slightest edge, start using them today.