5 Communication Principles for Leaders

Principle 1: Do not avoid the difficult conversations. You are just doing a disservice to your team member, the team as a whole, and the organization. And, you are losing credibility in the eyes of others on the team because they see you avoiding the conversation.

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Principle 2: Maintain or enhance your team member’s self –esteem. Everything we do as leaders can be done in such as way as to not marginalize our people.

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Principle 3: Focus on behavior, rather than attitude. Describe the behavior you see and its impact on you and/or the team. Behavior lets people know exactly what they need to change to be successful.

Behavior: “Your report was late and it delayed our ability to get the master report out on time.”
Attitude: “You deliberately turned in the report late because you do not care about this project.”

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Principle 4: Own you feedback.*  Instead of saying “we” think, believe, or feel…state:

Your opinions by “I believe…”
Your feelings with “I feel…(mad, glad, sad)”
Your thoughts with “I think…”

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Principle 5: Use “I” statements.  “You” language raises defensiveness and comes across as accusatory.

I: “I would like to discuss the way you talk to patients on the phone.”
You: “You have a problem talking to patients on the phone and we need to talk.”


*Developing Positive Assertiveness, Sam R. Lloyd

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