It is often perceived that leaders gain influence with their team members solely based on how a message is communicated. As leaders, we’re taught the importance of tone fluctuation, being energetic and making direct eye contact, but the truth is there’s more to effective communication than the delivery alone. From performance reviews and quarterly updates to casual conversations by the water fountain, we’re constantly trying to improve communication with our teams, but we neglect one critical factor…our attitude.
Attitude is defined as:
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior. In other words, it’s what we truly think and feel, despite the things we say to others. Many leaders do not consider their attitude when evaluating their communication simply because it’s often nonverbal, but nonverbal communication will make or break the effectiveness of your message, with or without your knowledge.
Naz Beheshti, a contributor for Forbes Women wrote an article on “The Power of Mindful Nonverbal Communication” where she stated, “If our nonverbal communication is not aligned with our spoken words, then our message will be mixed or muddled, and it will not resonate at all. Our message will be lost in translation.”
Has your message been lost in translation? Do you have a solid grasp on how you’re perceived in the workplace or have you assumed based on your “effective communication checklist”? Here are some practical tips on how to adjust your attitude to ensure your message is being received by your team members:
Check your intentions
– If the perception from your team members is that you’re egotistical, could it be true? Is the underlying tone of your interactions with them, “superiority”? Whether or not you want to admit it, people feel that. This is an opportunity for you to hold yourself accountable for A.) Doing the right thing and B.) Making sure your attitude is aligned with your company’s culture.
Have integrity when no one is looking
– You may not like someone you manage. You may not like someone you work with and the truth is, you’ll always be presented with opportunities to NOT be your best self towards them. Always choose to be your best self. Always choose to have integrity.
Be mindful of your nonverbal communication
– Smile, be friendly, say “good morning”, be genuine. It doesn’t cost you a dime. From the facilities department to the CEO of the company, true leaders demonstrate respectful verbal and nonverbal communication across the board.
John C. Maxwell says, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
As we continue to learn and grow as leaders, it’s important for us to understand that no matter how intelligent we are, we’re not smart enough to hide our true attitude and intentions from the people we must lead.