Leadership and communication: top 10 lessons learned

by Betty Lochner on January 27, 2011

Everything I learned about  leadership and communication I learned from making a few mistakes.

It’s okay to make mistakes. Trust me, I know.  Most of what I’ve learned about being a skilled communicator and leader I learned just that way. The important part about making mistakes is to learn from them and use those lessons to make our working relationships better, stronger, and healthier.

Here are my top ten lessons I’ve learned about leadership and communication.

1. Share everything. Many think knowledge is power, but the reality is that when you keep information to yourself you can alienate people, or create huge misunderstandings. Sharing important information, strategies, tips, and success stories will develop trust from your team. Leave your ego at the door and share all you know!

2. Play fair. Game playing in positions of power and leadership will deteriorate relationships quickly. Be honest, forthcoming, and treat everyone you come across with respect and integrity.

3. Don’t hit people. Okay, well, this one should be obvious.

4. Model the behavior you want to have on your team. If you want people to listen, model it. If you want accountability, model that as well. Your behavior will be noticed and emulated, good or bad, and whether you like it or not.

5. Clean up your own mess. Don’t expect others to take care of you. If you make a mess of a project, take responsibility for fixing it. Include others in decisions to fix messes and problems, but don’t pass on the responsibility of making it right.

6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Give credit where credit is due. Thank your team for their contributions, specifically and by name. Just because you are in charge, doesn’t mean you get the credit for the team’s work. Pass on the glory, and celebrate your successes together!

7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Apologizing is a powerful way to strengthen, and sometimes even repair relationships. When you make a mistake, admit to it and say you are sorry. Don’t play the blame game – you will lose respect and credibility.

8. Live a balanced life. Work isn’t life. Live your life well and enjoy work as one small part of it. I like to tell my staff “Remember, we aren’t saving lives here.” Your life at work will be more satisfying if you leave any workaholic tendencies behind.

9. Remember to pay attention.Catch people doing things well and acknowledge them. Make appreciation a daily habit.

10. Don’t forget to PAUSE – Take a time out when necessary. Listen first, and speak only when necessary.

I’d love your feedback! Please share your comments below.

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Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home. And, it’s now available on Kindle! Check it out.

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