Do you want to distinguish yourself from the pack and stand out as a leader? Is it your dream to inspire your team and help them bring an idea from the drawing board into reality? Good writing is essential for leaders.
If you want to be the quarterback who is running the plays and keeping everyone on track, you need to be a master of the written word.
If your communication skills aren’t stellar, the whole project is less likely to succeed.
We are constantly bombarded with messages in our daily lives. There is so much “noise” going on that we have almost become immune to the fact that there is a constant stream of written communication coming at us. We simply accept that most of the information we are going to receive will be in written or visual form and give it more relevance than things that we hear.
Keep a Neutral Tone in Your Writing
Part of being a good leader is keeping a professional, neutral tone in written communication with your team.
When composing any written communications for your project, make a point of keeping the same tone throughout. If you play favorites by highlighting certain team members’ ideas time and again while ignoring others, this will become evident over time. It’s not a good move if you want to establish a reputation as an effective, fair leader.
Written Messages are More Convenient
If a person heading a project wants to get the team’s attention, he or she is going to have to do it in written form. It’s easier and more convenient to compose a message once and transmit it than to try to set a time when several people are available to attend a meeting at the same time. This strategy tells the team that the leader values the team members‘ time.
Pulling people into a meeting to listen to a message that could just as easily be shared via e-mail, text, or written in a memo with an invitation to contact the writer with any questions or concerns, takes time away from more productive activities.
Allowing your team to focus on moving the project forward without bogging them down in unnecessary meetings is one mark of a true leader.
Use Precise Language
Good leaders know what they want to say and choose their words carefully.
They use precisely the right language to get their message across. When their team receives a message, they are not left wondering what their leader meant to say. Make a point of proofreading everything you produce before it leaves your desk, tablet or handheld device for distribution. Spell check won’t catch every error, and it would be a mistake to rely on it exclusively to check your writing.
Provide Written Instructions
There is something to be said for keeping detailed records as your project moves through various stages. You can confirm which team member is responsible for working on various aspects of the project and the deadlines that need to be met. Issuing written instructions or a checklist to follow is a good way to ensure that all members of your team are on track and keeping up with expectations for deliverables.
When you have instructions in writing, it’s much less likely that someone will misunderstand them.
Verbal instructions may be forgotten or misinterpreted more easily, but a paper trail (virtual or literal) can be referred to when necessary to keep the project moving forward.
Follow-up Meetings With a Written Summary
After each meeting, send all participants a written summary of what was discussed.
This communication should also include the next steps and any other relevant information, such as due dates, product or model numbers, etc. Not only will it help to keep your team on track, but it can serve as a reference when you want to find out what progress is being made on the project and which team member has upcoming deadlines.
You should also be keeping track of this information elsewhere, but confirming it in this fashion helps to keep the lines of communication clear in case someone on your team has questions or concerns.
The ability to use words wisely and well is just one of the skills that a good leader will need to be able to draw upon if he or she wants to be successful. Anything you commit to paper or an electronic device should be considered permanent, so consider your words carefully.
How Do You Implement Good Writing?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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