The Echo of Leadership: It's Not What You Say, It's What They Understand
The Owl and The Beetle: Thursday Memo
The role of a manager extends far beyond mere delegation of tasks. A manager's effectiveness is measured by the outcomes produced by their team, and their communication skills heavily influence this. It’s not about what you say but how, when, and why you say it. This essay will delve into the importance of effective communication as a manager and the need for a process to ensure alignment within your team.
A manager is accountable for the outcome of the team. 👥
The importance of context in communication. 🗣️
The necessity of a process to ensure team alignment. 🔄
The difference between being accountable for the outcome, not the output or input. 🎯
The significance of the message is that it is understood, not just what is said. 👂💡
1. Managerial Accountability
As a manager, you are responsible for the outcome of your team. Your effectiveness isn't judged by what you say but by the results your team produces. It's your responsibility to ensure that your team understands their roles and the expectations set for them.
Your organization only worries about what you say if you break your community's code of conduct. This happens when you disrespect your values, company, or, even worse, team members.
Aside from that isolated case, your team's result is the only thing that counts. No matter the reason, you are entirely at fault if they can't understand your message.
2. Context Matters
Communication isn't just about the words you use; it's also about how you say it when you say it, and why you say it. The context in which you communicate matters. By considering the context, you can tailor your message to make sure it is understood as intended.
In the book “The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation,” the author, Stephen W. Porges, says:
“The definition of safety that our nervous system has, is very different from the legal or cultural standards we have.”
It turns out that it’s not much about what you say, but how you say it.
An effective leader should always pay attention to this.
3. Ensuring Team Alignment
Having a process that double-checks your team's alignment with you is crucial. This ensures everyone is on the same page, working towards the same objectives. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and open communication channels can facilitate this alignment. They all provide the chance to achieve agreement. They also allow progress beyond what was mentioned in a single, separate incident.
The manager’s responsibility is to ensure people know the direction to take, the required speed, and the type of game we expect them to play. This complex set of messages requires intentionality, persuasion, and repetition.