What, as IC pros, can we do to humanise our business leaders both at events and in wider organisational culture, to help them make the biggest impact they can?
No matter how much a comms team breaks its back to pull off an incredible employee event, a leader stepping up and letting the side down in a ‘live’ situation will always devalue the message and the eagle will not be landed.
In a world where there’s more pressure than ever on those right at the top of business to communicate with credibility, authenticity and believability, helping them appear more human is critical.
So … it makes sense that helping leaders relate to their audience on a human level should be a priority for all IC Profs.
Ten ways to humanise your business leader
A while ago we were at the Institute of Internal Communication’s annual conference, IOIC Live talking about this issue – here’s what made it on to our ideas board from the IC community at the event.
- Get personal – encourage your leader to include a little about themselves in their presentations through storytelling, experiences and anecdotes to help people connect with them
- Cut the jargon – help your leader to cut the corporate speak and talk like a normal person.
- Lighten up – laughter is one of the most natural dispositions a person can take, so help your leader to both laugh and make others laugh as part of his presentations.
- Morning ritual – encourage your leader to spend five minutes at the start of each day saying good morning to those who are in, asking how they are and enquiring about key activities that day. This can be really powerful at events too.
- Know names – nothing is more personal than someone knowing your name. Help your leader to know names wherever possible.
- Random drop ins – suggest your leader drops into a different site/ team/ operation every week to say hello, boost morale (they can take doughnuts!) and have an on the spot Q and A session about what’s on people’s minds.
- Be accessible – different platforms will work for different leaders but monthly vodcasts, townhalls, dial-ins all work well to keep leaders accessible and off the destructive plinth! Plenty of time for open Q&As at events is critical.
- Get involved – attendance at fundraisers, baking a cake for a charity sale, dress down Friday – whatever’s going on in the company should be going on for the CEO too.
- Open door or open plan – more and more leaders are giving up the office in favour of a total open plan working policy. If this is a stretch too far, an open door policy is a good second best.
- Be human – if someone is poorly, has lost a relative, is facing any other challenging personal situation, ensure your business leader contacts them directly with an appropriate gesture. Nothing is more personal than someone knowing your name