“I know more than you do.”  Have you been in an upper level meeting where there was an air (individually or the whole group) of superiority?  In other words, where a belief existed that this group knew better/more than the folks not in the room?

I often hear leaders espouse these words as they make decisions that impact others. And then they are confused (hence talking with me) when the ‘others’ aren’t bought in to the change, or the path decided upon, or even the very people who made this decision.  The ‘others’ aren’t trusting the people, process, or performance of this decision.

Leaders aren’t somehow suddenly smarter or wiser than when they were followers. I remember working for United Parcel Service where you could not be in a management role if you had not already worked in the delivery process. At the time, being young and ‘knowing everything’, this made no sense to me.  It frustrated me.  I knew better than UPS. What a learning curve I had on that one!

Now I know that the title of leader doesn’t remove my requirement for self evaluation and growth, nor does it mean I no longer follow. In fact, locate an exceptional leader and ask who they follow. They will have an immediate answer, knowing that mentorship doesn’t stop unless growth does.

Leadership indicates an additional responsibility to inform, educate, and learn. In other words, leadership requires others. As a leader, your communication strategy is paramount to your success, yet I rarely hear anyone addressing their strategy to keep others informed.  I encourage you to consider what your current strategy is, maybe one of these:

  • Tell them what they need to know when they need to know it;
  • Hold meetings on a scheduled basis and inform according to this schedule;
  • Use email or other written posts to share new information.

If so, what could be a more strategic approach to your communication? What would happen if you talked about industry changes on a regular basis, then talked about the firm, and maybe someday there will be adjustments or alterations to firm strategies and costs as a result? What if you invited sessions with your teams and staff that had agendas written by them?

Reading between these lines, I’m encouraging you to communicate to build trust. To develop rapport and relationship through authentic and strategic communication. We can do this. World Domination for Good.

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About Judy Hissong

Judy Hissong is the President of Nesso Strategies. A former law firm Chief Operating Officer, she helps firms become more profitable by developing leaders. Her mission is “world domination for Good.” By creating actionable, lightbulb moments that leaders want to share and spread, she intends to improve the world one person at a time.

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Judy Hissong