Saturday, March 13, 2010

Effective Comms

I've said it before, I'll say it again - communication is your primary tool as a leader. Our maintainers have wrenches, screw drivers, hammers, etc. but we have our mouths, our written correspondence, and our non-verbal methods to ensure our jobs are done. This week has been crazy - it will only get busier with our upcoming operational schedule. So, my postings are likely to decrease. I did want to use this blog as a means to reflect/log my means of leading. This week I failed a couple times (that I am aware of) in the way I communicated. While walking my spaces with my Divo and his Chief I was asking the Divo about the basics of different pieces of equipment. There was a piece of machinery that he did not know, that I thought he should have. Instead of teaching I simply made a sarcasticlly suprised facial expression in the direction of the Chief and kept walking. Later, another officer told me that my Divo was talking to him about how stupid he felt and his desire to get smarter on his gear. The latter thought is good the initial is not. My simple expression communicated negatively resulting in all sorts of unintended consequences. Be careful what your face is communicating. Below is a good article from Re: on leadership and communication.

Effective Communication: The Leader’s Greatest Skill

Dave Kraft
Leadership Development Pastor at Mars Hill Church

Effective Communication series:

A Skill Worth Learning

Probably no skill is more helpful to acquire and develop than becoming an excellent communicator. I believe that communication is a skill that can be learned. A number of years ago I realized that my ability to communicate well needed major work, so I joined Toastmasters International in order to improve my private and public communication. It was by far the best investment in my leadership portfolio that I have ever made. I am still reaping the benefits of the eleven years I was a Toastmaster.

Author, speaker, and seminar leader Brian Tracy says,

Your ability to communicate effectively with people will contribute more to your success than any other skill that you can develop. I’ve studied success and achievement in America for more than 30 years. I’ve spoken to more than a million people, individually, and in groups, and I’ve taken extensive courses on speaking and the art of persuasion. I’ve read countless books and articles on how to influence, negotiate with, and persuade people. I’ve learned that fully 85% of what you accomplish in your career and in your personal life will be determined by how well you get your message across and by how capable you are in inspiring people to take action on your ideas.

Wow! Is learning to communicate essential or what?

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

What is involved with saying what you mean and causing others to understand and respond positively? Let’s go way back to Aristotle, who lived, wrote, and taught three centuries before Christ. What he had to say still serves us well today. He believed that effective communication is comprised of the speaker, the message, and the audience, and to get your message across without misunderstanding is a combination of ethos (the credibility of the speaker), logos (the truth and relevancy of the message), and pathos (the emotional and appropriate response of the receivers). The ethos of the speaker sharing the logos of the message will elicit pathos in the audience. What Aristotle believed has been accepted, taught, and practiced for 23 centuries. Must be something to it!