Being clear on what clarity you are creating!

Last week, we introduced the “Bringing Everyone on Board” step of our Virtuous Circle of Healthy Leadership.  Essentially, this involves creating clarity about “what’s important right now” at all levels of the organisation.

Most leaders understand the need to communicate priorities to the business.  However, creating true clarity goes a bit deeper than sending out a communication piece – often a “plan on a page” or an email newsletter.

As you reflect on your organisation, consider these questions:

  • Does every employee understand what is expected of them and why, what success looks like in their role and do they receive regular feedback about how they are going?
  • Does every employee understand how their role contributes to the results of their team and what their team is trying to achieve and why? And
  • Does every employee understand how their team’s results contribute to the organisational goal, and why those goals are important?

The important word in these questions is not what.  Nor is it how.  It is why.  In our experience, the employees of our clients who work across a vast array of industry sectors have one thing in common.  They all want to come to work with a sense of purpose and do good work.  It is the leader’s role, in fact it is the leader’s responsibility, to provide the “why” which creates this sense of purpose.

From the top-down perspective, there are a few practical things leaders can do to create clarity and along with it organisational leadership alignment.

Firstly, have you clearly articulated the mission and direction of the organisation in terms that will be clearly understood by your employees.  Remember, you have a diverse group of employees so you may need to use a range of communication styles and tools to ensure that everyone understands where you are heading.

Secondly, have you equipped your leaders with the support they need to be able to explain how every employee and every team connects to the overall direction.  Explaining the why for your people is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

The last piece to remember about creating clarity and organisational leadership alignment is repetition.  We all see politicians repeat things ad nauseum.  They do it for a reason.  Repetition of the message is important. It demonstrates consistency and certainty but most of all it caters for the way we as human beings learn.  When your people groan and tell you in advance what you are about to say, you are almost there!

So, take the time, be clear about where the business is heading and then do what great leaders do – align all levels of leadership to create purpose for everyone – they will all willingly come on board!