How to Communicate as a Leader with William Gooderson
“Staff members have good and bad days. We need to adjust. There will be times when there is a short deadline. We need to drive and lead because we are the team leader. There will be times when you’ve got the flexibility to take staff on a journey,” says leadership expert William Gooderson of PwC. […]
4 June 2019 |
“Staff members have good and bad days. We need to adjust. There will be times when there is a short deadline. We need to drive and lead because we are the team leader. There will be times when you’ve got the flexibility to take staff on a journey,” says leadership expert William Gooderson of PwC. Once a British Royal Engineers Major, William is a class unto himself. After leaving university in 2003, he spent the next 9 years leading troops in Europe and Afghanistan. What was first a job with 30 soldiers soon grew into missions with over 2,000 people involved. But his journey into challenging work had just begun. Throughout the next few years, he would continue working with people in various fields. Becoming a master of work in the service of others William Gooderson left the army and moved to Australia to work in construction and government. Soon after, he joined consultancy firms and began to specialise in leadership and coaching. Today, he brings all of these different experiences to the table. “We’re very fortunate within the military to spend a year learning leadership before you actually run any teams. So you learn a lot of experiences before you get a hands on,” he shares. “That’s where I’ve realised the lessons that I was getting or taking for granted through my military career would actually be very relevant to industry and the corporate mindset.” 1. Strive for a flexible coaching style “Industries spend less money on training its leaders than it does on any other area of development,” William lamented during his talk at the Workforce Success Conference last year on the Gold Coast. Indeed, there is little hope for an organisation if it doesn’t coach the next level of staffing. He encourages leaders to first determine how much time they can invest. “Do you have the time capacity and energy to take your staff on the journey? Or do you need to be more direct? [Are] there staff members struggling because you keep giving them direction and they’re not listening?” he asks. “Maybe they need actually to be given a bit more of a pointed approach to how they need to undertake things.” The key is staying flexible and adapting to how people are feeling. Read more: From Battlefields to Boardrooms: Finding Good Managers with William Gooderson 2. Track performance, give and take feedback Two-way communication is important for every organisation, regardless of the industry. Tracking performance without communicating is a clear waste of time and resources. And above all, there must be a way for employees to give feedback. “There is a real importance around […] the opportunity for staff to be able to give that feedback to their team leaders. If they can’t, the team leader can never learn where the staff is being challenged,” he says. “Without [the feedback loop] you aren’t really going to struggle to be an effective team leader an effective team member.” He adds that it’s impossible to get it right every time, but each mistake is a learning point that can be developed for next time. Read more: Actionable feedback from the front line 3. Use tech to bridge communication gaps “We now live in a very much a data-driven world where you can live and work in the global workspace,” he muses. Managers can take advantage of this and use it to do more face-to-face interactions. A telephone call or an email doesn’t have the ability to convey emotions. But he also reminds managers to balance it out with other aspects of the job. “It doesn’t have to be daily. We’re all busy. Your staff members are busy, the [operation] teams are busy, but there is nothing to stop you walking the floor on a Friday, or actually getting out and about. Drop by saying hi and make them feel like you’re actually listening,” he advises. Managers need to communicate well and often to achieve success. Read more: Four Ways to Keep your Managers on the Frontline Leadership is communication “You can’t just have communication on its own and expect it to work. You need to have an environment where people feel like they can communicate. You need to make the time to communicate. You need to provide opportunities and transparency. [You can’t just be] a one trick pony every now and again where you release a statement and expect everything to come back to it,” he advises. For William, communicating means listening as much as talking. It also means building a strong rapport that will make communication easier. Finally, he stresses taking care of the core leadership team that you work directly with. “They will know what’s going on the level below and the level below,” he notes. Regardless of how many people are in the team, the principles are the same. It’s the core leadership that bridges you to them. “Talk to them, work with them, understand them, and then it’s your job to trust them to do the same to their team,” he advises. “If you have good communication and good leadership then you will hear the problems. It will be communicated all the way through the chain.” Want to communicate with your staff better? Eager to train the next generation of leaders? Learn from William Gooderson and other topnotch speakers at the Workforce Success Conference on 26 July 2019. Get your tickets now!