Often in an organisation, internal comms can become obsessed about the Great Leader.
Here’s me, talking about the vision for the business.
Here’s me, giving an update on performance.
Here’s me, giving out awards to employees.
Here’s me, talking to some of our employees in a far-flung location.
Here’s me, talking to some very important people.
Here’s me, with a celebrity.
Here’s me, driving my new car.
However, the truth is that while many leaders might be happy for it to be ‘all about me’, others aren’t. Or they don’t have the personality, time or expertise around them, to do all of this.
What’s more, is the ‘all about me’ the best approach?
So what should leaders focus on – whatever their personality type?
Mission, purpose and strategy – okay, so pretty obvious. But often these can be confused. Leaders can simply talk about our strategy for the next 3 to 5 years, and not about why we are here, what is our purpose.
Visibility – this should not be confused with grandstanding or TedX style presentations. Colleagues take notice when a leader is visible, whether that’s sitting in the canteen, talking to someone in the corridor or visiting a remote location.
Q&A – it’s a really simple thing, but the ability to stay connected to the concerns and motivations of employees is more important than possibly anything else. Some have a regular Ask Me Anything type chat – online or sometimes in person; others make a point of going out to talk to employees and find out what they think.
Keep it real – let’s leave authenticity to one side; it’s a horrid term. Of course, leaders are there to envisage the future and what that will be. But what concerns the vast majority of people is what is happening right now. A leader should never forget that.
Invest some time – communicating with colleagues is one of the most important things a leader can do. It’s not for the PA to send out an email; or for the leader to show up now and again. This is one of the best and most beneficial things a leader can do. So invest time in it, and be consistent in your approach.