A minister once complained that his workers performed poorly in the publicity drive for a particular programme. I asked if he laid out the vision properly and gave them a strategy to operate with. When he answered that he 'assumed' that they should know what to do, I replied, “The truth is, your workers actually did what they knew to do, but you were not satisfied. You needed to have given them the strategy that God gave you”
He held another meeting after our little talk, and you should have seen the sunshine on his face when I asked him how it went. He had spent time clarifying the vision and relevant strategy from God, and made time to share it with his workers. The workers executed the strategy and the attendance was impressively better than the last time.
Prior to the commencement of Vision Builders, the Lord told me, “Until the leaders know how to fire up their people, the work will not get done!”. An ability to effectively communicate Vision and strategy is an indispensable skill every leader must develop. When your workers do not understand your vision and implement your strategies, no work will get done.
LEARN TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
Ineffective communication of vision and strategy affects both leader and follower negatively. It slows down the leader's progress because the worker assigned to carry out duties does not work accurately simply because he is not clear on what to do or how to operate. Much activity does not necessarily amount to productivity.
Had that minister taken the time to communicate his vision and strategy, and sought feedback of what their understanding, he would have had two very good meetings. A local assembly's productivity can be limited and its valuable time expended on non-essential ministry if the leader concerned does not make the trip to develop effective communication skills.
Instead of committing its resources to extending its frontiers, they may be wasted on fixing things. Leaders should make the effort to ensure that their workers and team members understand the same things about the work. This is not implying in any way that everyone will 'feel' the same way about the work, or have the same ideas and methods of operation, but largely there will be a common rhythm.
REQUEST FEEDBACK, CLARIFY ISSUES
As a leader, never leave your vision to another person's idea of what you have in mind. Get feedback and clarify issues before little things become big trouble. Your workers will have difficulty employing their maximum potential if they don't understand your expectations.
Particularly in cases where your instructions flow through an administrative reporting line, you must device a means of testing the content perceived at each administrative level.
Someone was appointed over a particular duty in a campus fellowship. For three years he worked hard at what he thought and believed was his assignment. Through prayer and seeking the Lord about his assignment he began to fill he ought to start conducting certain bible classes. On discussing his ideas with his Pastor he got what he considered as a shocking surprise. His pastor replied, “I expected you to do that a long time ago!” And imagine that after three years!
Don't assume anything!
Assumptions on your part as a leader may result in time wastage and unreleased potentials. In the words of Daniel Robin, “Communication, like driving in traffic, is a cooperative system. If we become conscious of how we produce responses in other people, we will have additional choices…if the relationship is important, let the other person know you want to understand what they are getting from you.”
DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Develop your communication skills. This point is so important and so pivotal to all you do as a leader. it marks how effectively you can move your people. You require more than 'sincerity fr people to lay down their fears and follow you.
Read books. Take a good personal development course like Vision Builders Communication Skills Leaders. Your ministry will profit immensely from your ability to say what you want your workers to hear and do. Their confidence will also be built by the successes they achieve from doing the tasks you issue.
LET YOUR WORKERS HEAR FROM YOU REGULARLY
I believe Pastors are some of the most multi-tasking, 'multi-careered' workers on earth. They have to be able to do many things at the same time. The pressures of growth do not make things any easier. But regardless of how busy the schedule becomes, a leader should not compromise the strategic function of having his workers hear from him or her regularly.
Jesus still talks to his workers regularly up till today, you should too! It could be through bulletins, one-liners, talks, picnics, emails, SMS', etc.
According to Susan Heathfield, “Talking to [staff members] every single day works, too. Once you decide to identify what your workforce finds motivating, some of the answers may surprise you.” You may not have the opportunity to do this every day, but endeavour to do it regularly.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Communication Skills is the ability to articulate complex issues in simple, often visual, ways that enable people to understand them and get excited about them.
*“All Communication is either Verbal or Non-verbal. It has been said that 70% of all communication is primarily non-verbal.
Even what you don't verbalize says something. Two types of information; Personal Perception (PP) and Actual External Information (AEI), determine whether your workers will act on your idea or not: PP has a stronger influence because it is a result of processed AEI.
Until AEI is processed, there remains a wide gap between your original idea and what people 'think' your idea is.” (Source: Vision Builders Communication Skills for Leaders manual, Tope A. Banjo, 2006)
WORK ON YOUR PERSONAL CHARACTER
That's all people take away after encountering you. Determine before hand what you intend to achieve before making your delivery.
Be courteous and polite. Use encouraging words. Address each individual as a valued person. Be concise and don't waste people's time.
Keep confidence in your voice (if you don't believe yourself you can't convince others!).
Develop a knack for storytelling. The story lasts longer than the talk! Require informal feedback. Emphasize the positive points. Work on your facials. I mean smile as a life style. It makes you more attractive and amiable.
Above all, BE THE EXAMPLE!
Nothing breaks trust like a bad example. And finally, be a sincerely loving person. It was John Maxwell who said, “Before you ask for their hands, you should have their heart”.
*Adapted from VISION BUILDERS LEADERS COMMUNICATION SKILLS TRAINING.
Tope A. Banjo, is a Minister and Trainer whose work develops You to ‘Achieve Your Goals and Fulfil Your Vision’ in Church Workforce, Small Business Start-Up and Personal Development. He is the Founder of Vision Builders, a published Author and the producer of Nigeria's foremost Workforce Training Bulletins, The VISION BUILDER and TRAILBLAZER. You may see Vision Builders’ Training Programs AND easily download current and past editions now from: visionbuilders.wix.com/buildyourvisions