Why communication needs to be purposeful

I’m often told by leaders that they are “too busy” – they don’t have the time to communicate with their team and find it moves further and further down their to-do list, often giving way to “more business-critical” activities. Now this is especially true during busy periods, when we’re distracted, in times of high stress, or in high stake situations.

Danger ahead

The danger here however is that there’s no such thing as not communicating. We are constantly communicating something.

The words we say. The words we don’t say.

The way we use our voice to speak those words

The way we engage in, or avoid eye contact.

The way we walk into a room.

The way we act and interact, one-to-one and in large groups.

Open to interpretation

Our words, sounds, signs and behaviours are signals that are always subject to interpretation by others. As a leader, this is intensified as the eyes and ears of your team are constantly tuned in to you. Absorbing, interpreting and evaluating everything you say and everything do, as well as everything you don’t say and do. Assessing whether what you say is congruent with what you do. Whether they can trust in you and believe in you as their leader.

Time vs. purpose

So rather than ask how much time you should spend communicating, I challenge you to start practicing purposeful communication. Give your communication a purpose. Communicate with intent. With meaning.

Without purpose your communication lacks focus and direction, which means you simply add to the noise or send mixed messages that serve to confuse your team and paint a disjointed picture of your as a leader.

Great leaders know that the purpose of their communication must be to inform, inspire, engage and unite their team behind a common vision, mission, strategy, purpose, and set of values.

Remember, you are always communicating. So start tuning in.

What signals are you sending? Are they the sort of messages you want and need your team to see, hear, interpret and understand?

Start practicing purposeful communication to help you create a highly engaged and high performing team.