Communicating to Lead High-Performing Teams
Strong leaders are excellent communicators. Learning how to gain the trust and credibility of your team will help you motivate them to reach their highest potential. All of this comes from strong communication skills.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed Head of Executive Education at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, Hamilton Chan.
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1. Storytelling To Engage Your Team
When you lead a team, you have to get their attention and engage them. You want your team to believe in your vision and want to follow you to the finish line. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Hamilton talked about the difference between good and bad managers. He said a good manager uses storytelling skills to gain the attention of their teams.
Storytelling is a communication skill that you can learn. In our e-course, The Art Of Communicating, you will learn to employ storytelling to lead high-performing teams.
Storytelling elements include:
- Using vivid details
- Building Suspense
- Have an emotional connection
- Adding A surprise ending
- Building excitement
- Calls to action
A good team leader knows how and when to use storytelling to gain their team’s attention.
- Cast A Vision – Often, as the leader, you will need to cast a vision to your team. This means sharing a goal the company has set forth, or sharing company culture values. When you employ storytelling elements to your vision, your team will understand exactly what you are talking about. For example, let’s say your goal for the team is to increase productivity by 20%. You could easily send out an email saying, “Let’s try to increase productivity by 20% this quarter.” Or you could use storytelling skills to get your team excited about increasing their productivity. You can use examples of how the team has reached its goals in the past and give a clear call to action.
- Connection – Storytelling can help you connect with your team. A strong connection builds trust. When your team trusts you, they will get excited about your vision. Building a connection with your team through storytelling means you will have to share about yourself. For example, let’s say you are in a meeting with your marketing department, and they just found out a big client has decided to go with a different marketing firm. You can use this as a chance to share a story about a time when you felt defeated. You can say something like, “You know, this reminds me of a time when I thought I had failed….” Sharing mutual stories will help your team see you as a trusted advisor. They’ll know you’ve been there before and will trust you to give them direction on how to move forward.
- Call To Action – Storytelling can help your team understand the call to action you’d like them to take. Start with the problem, talk about the obstacles, and then give the solution. For example, your problem could be a supply chain issue. The obstacles are that your regular suppliers don’t have enough for the number of orders coming in. The solution is to find alternative suppliers and think outside of the box. Your story to your team could be one of encouragement and excitement.
💡 We recommend the e-course, “Storytelling: Your Secret Power” to learn tips on how to use storytelling.
You’ll be surprised by the impact you have on others, depending on how well you can communicate and share your vision.
2. Empower Your Team
It is up to you to cultivate a high-performing team. To do so, you need to create a culture where your team feels empowered. Your team will do their best when they feel like they have some control.
There are a few ways you can empower your team.
- Show You Care – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Hamilton talked about showing your team you care about them individually and personally. This means authentically communicating with them. You can do this by using positive body language when interacting. For example, always making eye contact, avoiding distractions, and nodding your head will show you care and that you are actively listening. In our e-course, Mastering Non-Verbal Communications, you will learn to develop positive body language skills.
- Give Them Autonomy – Noone likes to be micromanaged. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared how when people feel empowered to make their own decisions; they take ownership of their work. If you want your team to be high-performing, you have to empower them. For example, instead of hovering over your team to ensure a project moves forward, schedule regular check-ins. This way, your team can do their work and regularly give status updates.
- Support Them – Supporting your team is crucial for its success. This is because, as the leader, your support gives your team the ability to do their jobs with confidence. You have to be able to communicate your support to them. You can express your support by giving positive feedback, listening to their needs, and giving credit. For example, if your team is struggling with a project, you can listen to what they are struggling with, and help them develop a solution. Making sure your team knows you support them will open communication channels and allow them to perform at their highest levels.
A modern leader allows their staff to be empowered and come to their own conclusions. Let them get the feeling you care about their enterprise.
3. Positive Influence
Part of leading a team is getting everyone to work towards a common goal. To do this, you will need to influence your team positively. This means, being able to persuade others to do what you want them to do. In other words, get them to buy-in.
There are several ways you can get your team to buy-in.
- In This Together – When your team feels like you are all in this together, they will be more likely to buy in. This means showing your team it is not just about you and what you want. One way you can do this is to frame what you say in a collaborative way. For example, instead of saying, “I want you to hit $60,000 in sales this quarter”, you could say, “We are going to hit $60,000 in sales this quarter.” The difference is subtle, but when you communicate how you are all in this together, your team will be more likely to buy into what you want them to do.
- Model Behavior – If you want to lead a high-performing team, you have to model the behavior you want to see. If your team sees you doing your best, and putting in the work, they will be influenced to do the same. For example, if you have asked your team to put in a few hours of extra work to finish a project, you should be there with them. If you leave early, it may seem like you don’t care about them or the project, and they will be less likely to do their best work.
- Show Appreciation – Everyone likes to be appreciated, especially your team. Show your team you appreciate them. There are so many different ways you can do this. For example, you can surprise your team with donuts on Fridays, give them an extra half hour of lunch, or sing the praises of a team member during your meeting. Showing appreciation will go a long way with your team and help you build their trust.
Getting your team to buy in will help them perform at their highest level.
Communicating to lead high-performing teams requires you to communicate in several different ways, all at the same time. Using storytelling skills will help positively influence your team and empower them to work at their highest level.
If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Hamilton’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
Do you want to learn how to communicate to lead high-performing teams? Join our private communications group and level up with our expert guidance.
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