Every communication, especially from a leader, has an impact. Busy leaders often forget that the way a communication is delivered has a huge impact on the quality of the action that follows and the morale of the team. A communication from a leader can enhance someone's focus or distract them. A communication from a leader is either motivating or discouraging. It's an essential leadership skill to communicate in a way that enhances focus and motivation. Clear content and positive tone are especially important in written communication. When writing, we can't provide encouragement with a gesture like a smile or a handshake. We can't gauge the clarity of our communication as easily as we could if we were able to see a blank stare or a nod of agreement. For written communication to be impactful and motivating, the communication must be clear, thoughtful and positive. Use the checkpoints below to make sure you're providing clear, positive communication to your peers and team members that fuels productivity and motivation.
What is the core purpose of sending the email?
As a leader, you want your communications to cultivate focus and clarity for your team. Think about the core purpose of your communication before you send it. What are you trying to achieve? You can always open your email with the purpose of your communication: "I'm writing to... "
Do you need to send it?
Reread the message and decide if it really needs to be sent. Everyone receives so many communications in a day and it can be distracting. Whether it's to make someone aware of a project specification change or to provide a mid-day laugh for your team, think about why you're sending the communication.
Is the timing appropriate?
Sometimes communications are too frequent, and the team would benefit from less frequent, more informational communications. This allows people to maintain focus on their work and have less frequent distraction. Only send project updates or communications to the team as often as necessary. Keep everyone informed but remember that sometimes less is more!
Is the audience appropriate?
Before hitting send, reread your message and make sure you're sending it to the right person or people. Check if you're adding too many people or missing people from the audience. Make sure you haven't mistakenly added anyone to the email.
Is your tone positive?
Even if the communication is constructive or urgent, write with a tone that will be easily digestible and encouraging for people. Start your email with a friendly greeting. A simple "thank you" goes a long way in building relationships of trust and respect.
Is it efficient?
Check that you aren't providing too much or too little information. Provide enough context and clearly state action items. Make your message easy to read and understand. If you find that your communication is rather lengthy, sometimes a call or stopping by in person is more efficient than sending a written message. Make sure your communications have a positive tone and are intentionally written to trigger impactful actions and a positive mindset. Use these checkpoints next time you write an email to your peers or team members. Observe how positivity, simplicity and intention improve productivity and morale.