Communication & Weeds

Leadership is like growing a garden.  Tilling the soil represents our communication.  As we loosen the soil we remove weeds.  Weeds lead to wasted resources, wasted effort, and reduced productivity.  A leader that doesn’t eliminate the weeds in the workplace will have people that are doing the wrong things, in the wrong way, at the wrong time.

In the workplace, we eliminate weeds through effective communication.  And weeds crop up constantly in gardens and the workplace.  A few small weeds are a small problem, but if they are allowed to grow, they become large and numerous, and clearing them out takes substantially more effort.

To eradicate weeds in the workplace, I’d suggest leaders need to build multiple channels of communication with their subordinates.  A minimum of four channel types are needed – (a) informal one-to-one, (b) formal one-to-one, (c) informal team, and (d) formal team.

The informal one-to-one provides a setting to enable us to get to know people and build a positive relationship with team members. Also, it helps us pull small weeds as they come up.

The formal one-to-one gives us a forum to remove bigger weeds and provides a return/report function that builds accountability.

The informal team setting allows us to convey information that is important, but neither dramatic or traumatic.  This channel can stop weeds before they begin.

The formal team channel provides a setting for training, addressing broad issues and team problem-solving.  It is the place for the dramatic and traumatic that affects the entire team.

The leader that uses all four channels will have a well-weeded garden.

What are some of the methods of communication you’ve seen used effectively?

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