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What do beepers and leadership have in common?

As you all know, our favorite character Joe Scafone uses stories to illustrate lessons gleaned from his 35 years of experience in the world of logistics, transportation, and old-fashioned people management.  One of our favorite stories about Joe goes back to the beeper era (and yes, it was an “era”), shedding light on the challenge of fitting in and the woes of communication barriers. Check out the beeper story in Tighten the Lug Nuts: The Principles of Balanced Leadership.

As Joe learned from this experience, leaders must ensure there are no barriers to communication—real or perceived. They should listen with the intent to act on what they learn and invite feedback. This inspires openness and trust.

As you lead your staff, recognize any barriers in the way of accomplishing your vision. Your role as a communicator is to be:

  • Approachable being aware of the verbal and non-verbal signals you convey. Part of how we communicate and act is how we garner people’s respect, trust, etc.
  • Adaptive to his or her environment. At times, you may need to simplify your message or adjust your tone so you are heard. You should be able to read the audience you are communicating with and recognize if people look confused. If so ask for their feedback or get confirmation that they understand.
  • Passionate and knowledgeable with the ability to inspire others. When delivering a message, you show you care about your message and your audience. Have some charisma or presence. Nobody wants to listen to a monotone or soft spoken speech. Great leaders all have self-confidence. This needs to come across in our communications if we are trying to motivate our teams.
  • Prepared to listen and follow-up. At times the best form of communication is the ability to listen and react. Leaders know the importance of asking the right questions. Asking questions helps determine the motives of others in a conversation. In order to lead an effective conversation, you may have to ask many questions to get to the root of problems. And a great leader should always solicit feedback and most importantly do something with that feedback. Your expectation of your management team is that every issue raised is addressed.

There’s always lots of lug nuts to tighten. Some that we are aware of others that haven’t yet caught our attention.  The key is to keep communication barriers at bay and practice proven communication techniques.

Read some of Joe’s other stories and get more leadership lessons in Rocky Romanella’s newest book, Tighten the Lug Nuts: The Principles of Balanced Leadership, now available for pre-order.