03 Dec Letting Go – Embracing Imperfection
Have you ever written an email that was received by someone in a way you did not intend? I’d wager that scenario only had to play out a couple of times before you modified your behavior, reading and re-reading your messaging to ensure it conveyed the message you intended. People seem to have carried this habit across to other forms of digital communications like blog posts and enterprise social networks. If you are a senior leader within your organization then you might even have someone else, perhaps from the internal communications department, review your content before sending it. I’ve had senior leaders tell me that they are not comfortable posting informally ( or sometimes at all) because they feel that their words need to be perfect and immune to misinterpretation because they are frequently taken as an immediate call to action.
Yet for leaders, it’s clear that it is important to be more accessible, more approachable, more human. So how can we do that if our messages are formally edited and wordsmithed? The answer is that messaging cannot be truly authentic, engaging and approachable and still hide behind formally structured and edited communications. It starts with letting go, embracing authenticity in the form of imperfection. If you want to elicit trust from your employees you must trust them in return. Trust them to engage in open dialogue. If there is no conversation, then you are really just assuming that communication has taken place. You have no barometer for how your messaging was received or what may be happening as a result of your messaging. If the messaging is multi-directional and open, then you can be made aware if something was unclear or misinterpreted. Your employees can ask you questions and clarify points. They may be able to add value in the form of information or perspective you didn’t have before. This is true communication, real ownership of the message, and this builds trust.