All effective local government managers have one thing in common: The ability to develop and strengthen relationships through communication.
Skilled communicators have the ability to develop better working relations with people they don't already know well, they take the time to talk, to listen, and to exchange information to develop bonds of understanding that can facilitate the communication process. Just think, wouldn't it be great to have the ability to give clear assignments, help employees solve problems, motivate them, and help them accomplish their goals based on your ability to communicate with them?
Start today by applying these 10 communication habits of effective local government managers to increase your own leadership skills.
1. Pay attention.
Listen to people and how they deal with each other in the organization. Different people may use different channels of communication to get messages across.
2. Stay tuned in.
Weigh information equitably before deciding what is fact and what is ficition by staying tuned to both the formal and informal communication networks in the organization.
3. Choose your words wisely.
Make sure that you mean what you say and that the people you are talking to will be familiar with your language.
4. Think about your perceptions and others.
Remember that what you think, know, hear, and understand is based on your perceptions of the world. And your perceptions may be different from those of the people you are talking with.
5. Look for non-verbal cues.
It may tell you more about what people are thinking and feeling than their words do.
6. Observe others.
When working in small groups, observe the way people interact and exchange information. Become self-concious about the role you play in groups and its effect on how the group gets its work done.
7. Don't bridge a communication gap.
If it doesn't exist yet, don't bridge it. Assuming the existence of a gap can create one.
8. Develop a personal style.
Having one for sending and receiving messages that is open, honest, direct and flexible will greatly affect people's understanding of your message.
9. Paraphrase messages.
Acquire this habit to make sure what you heard is what the speaker intended. Listen when people paraphrase your messages, so that you can learn to be more precise and direct the next time.
Even the most carefully presented messages will be missed completely if you and others aren't listening carefully.
Information in this article is extracted from ICMA's Municipal Management Series, Effective Communication: A Local Government Guide.
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