Communication Techniques & Best Practices for Small Business LeadersPosted on June 9th, 2020
These are challenging times for business leaders. While the as-yet-uncertain impact of a global pandemic combines with weeks of domestic unrest, it can feel as though we are facing difficulties on every front. In moments like these, strong leadership is of paramount importance and small business owners are no exception.
How can we, as leaders in our businesses and larger communities, communicate stability, provide reassurance, and give direction and motivation to those who look to us for guidance? As I’ve recently written, every challenge presents opportunities to grow and change on our individual and communal paths to success. For business leaders, this uncertain time calls on us to become better communicators.
Principles of Communication in the 21st Century
David Grossman, a global leader in the communication field, outlined his Top 10 Principles of Communication before many of the drastic changes of our present moment, but they remain as applicable as ever. Perhaps this is because great communication is timeless in its mandate to address the current climate with sensitivity, clarity, and an eye towards inspiration.
Grossman writes that “Change is constant and leaders increasingly need to be able to deal with ambiguity and adapt to change.” Taking that ambiguity and turning it into a strong message is challenging but entirely possible when we put the evergreen principles of communication to work. By doing so, we maximize our impact on our associates, our customers, and our communities.
Stay True to Yourself
These principles include intentionally using our character as a differentiator. True leaders engage through action as well as words and demonstrate our own moral fiber to set an example for our teams. This can mean staying level-headed when surrounded by uncertainty, striving for clarity, and harnessing our own motivation to inspire others to do the same. When we show up and do the work, those around us can find reassurance in our stability and drive.
Lead with Vision
As Grossman says, “Leaders inspire others by being able to paint a picture of the future they envision, and encourage others to help them get there.” Vision is the ability, as my colleague Lori Baerg writes, to “adapt, improvise, and overcome,” creating a roadmap to guide your business through the unexpected detours on the road to success. This roadmap gives us the ability to keep our end goal in sight while responding in the moment to our needs and those of others. With vision at the forefront, we can lead with clarity and purpose.
We hear this constantly, but people are truly our greatest asset. As leaders, our priority must always be to provide guidance for the people around us, both our teams and our customers. They are the reason we craft our messages with authenticity and care. When we empower our people through reassurance and inspiration, we enable them to carry our message into their lives and work.
Communication in Crisis
Small business leaders in particular may find themselves unprepared when faced with a crisis of the magnitude we’re currently experiencing. Without large leadership teams with the time and opportunity for crisis planning, we may have to react on our feet. But, as McKinsey points out, “What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them look ahead.”
In these cases, it’s extraordinarily helpful to have a support network to rely on. Leaders don’t act alone, they marshal resources and ask for help when needed. That’s why e2E, LLC is so proud of our work with small businesses to provide a wide range of business consulting and support services in marketing, human resources, finance, accounting, and beyond. We believe that when leaders have access to the resources they need, together we can overcome any obstacle.
Are you a small business leader who could benefit from a network of support and guidance as you navigate this difficult moment? Contact us today to learn how we can help.