Last month, I ranted about why so many executives are such poor communicators. Several readers indicated they felt that pain and wanted to know what their organizations could do about the situation. I’d offer these suggestions, based on years experience as a workplace communication manager, consultant, trainer and executive coach:
- If organizations really care about the communication competencies of managers and executives, they can make them a more important factor in hiring or promoting them. If they really care …
- They can also thoroughly assess those competencies upon hire or promotion and create individualized professional development plans to deal with weaker areas necessary for long-term success.
- Forward-thinking organizations with effective Talent Management programs are identifying such communication skill improvements as important factors in manager development and performance reviews. More organizations could and should do the same.
- While learner-centric, results-driven training in communication skills works for lower level employees or management trainees, executives are less likely to sit in a class on take an on-line course in something they may consider a ‘soft’ skill that isn’t mission-critical.
- Communication coaches, whether internal or external, can help when the executives themselves identify a personal or professional need for improvement with an adequate ROI.
- My business focuses on empowering business leaders to take the pain out of workplace communication and sales presentations. The pain they experience … and the pain they often cause. But, the pain to change must become less than the pain to stay the same or they won’t motivate themselves to take appropriate action and invest the time and resources to create positive and lasting change.
I love it when the big dog tells a little dog ‘Your presentations at the board meetings really stink. Go get help … fast.’ I love it even more when that big dog is an excellent communicator, sets a high bar of performance expectation and ‘encourages’ subordinates to continually improve. Fortunately, there are big dogs like that, or I wouldn’t have stayed in business for 25 years.