Know your audience and speak to them. Great leaders inspire employees to action by giving them feelings of significance, community, and excitement.
It’s your job as a leader to use communication to help your audience make the connection between business objectives and their role in helping you meet them. But it’s important to understand that before you can get to the business big picture, you’ll need to address employees’ personal needs first.
At the end of the day, every employee wants to know “What’s in it for me?” They might articulate that need in any number of ways:
- “How does this affect my life/job?”
- “What does this have to do with me?”
- “What should I be doing?”
- “Does anyone care about me?”
There’s real magic in addressing your audience’s needs first. When you do that, your audience is more likely to trust you, and, as a result, be more generous, more open and more receptive to big-picture; strategic communication.
And don’t forget to keep your audience in mind when you’re thinking about the big picture. All communication should always be tailored to the specific audience to make them aware of their role in the organizational whole. That’s what leads to engagement and the discretionary effort all of us want.
Specifically, a leader should:
- Contextualize organizational information to ensure your team understands how it fits in.
- Craft information so that it’s relevant to individual employees and teams.
- Provide job-related information so that individuals and teams can do their jobs effectively.
Because when it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s whether you can make it relevant to them (which is what they will hear).
How are you doing at answering the question, “What’s in it for me?”
-- David Grossman