There’s a lot about the workplace that’s predictable, especially when it comes to leadership communication. The monthly CEO brief, the quarterly management briefing, the end of year thank you message to all staff. It’s no wonder employees have tuned out.
There’s a lot of leaders who appear invisible (this isn’t good) but there’s also a lot who have become wallpaper – in other words, predictable. It’s boring and uninspiring for the people that work for them. It’s also inappropriate for the rapidly evolving, ever changing, uncertain environment within which most of today’s businesses are operating.
Strong, stable leadership is important. The sturdy captain at the helm of the ship. However, equally important in today’s world is dynamic, authentic and vibrant leadership. Effective, modern leaders need to work on creating frequent, exciting interventions in the workplace through their actions, words and approaches. Delivering the unexpected, being memorable and surprising people with something different.
We asked CEO and Founder of Top Banana, what does this look like and how can it be done? He gives his top 10 tips on how leadership can ramp things up in 2018 and add the element of surprise to their leadership style.
- Forget your ivory tower – you can’t cause much of a stir from up on high. Get out the office, get amongst your people and breathe the same air. Ask to join employees for lunch in the canteen, gather a group off the shop floor for an impromptu ideas session, approach people for specific expertise
- The element of surprise – people remember it when their leaders do the unexpected. Arrange a surprise event to celebrate success, communicate an important message by leaving a surprise item on the desk of every employee or take a loudspeaker onto the shop floor on a Friday afternoon to say some thank you’s
- Don’t keep calm and carry on – when your business environment shifts and the existing approach stops working… communicate. The people in the business are those who will help… in other words intervene and rally the troops. Often ideas come from the most unexpected places
- Go guerrilla – sometimes an email alert just doesn’t cut it. We’ve created everything from onsite flash mobs to large scale office take overs and desk drops to help our clients to land their leadership message. Create some lunchtime mayhem. It rarely gets forgotten
- Create an experience – the way your people are engaging with your brand is changing. Park up the PowerPoint led quarterly staff conference and create memories with your corporate strategy through memorable, experiential leadership events
- Be emotional – true engagement comes when you touch people via their head and their heart. It’s simple – people remember the things that make them smile (or cry, or gasp etc.). Being emotional (on both ends of the scale), as a leader, is not a weakness
- Creative that’s clever – high impact leadership interventions are clever as well as creative, playing devil’s advocate, making people think, connecting on a deeper level. To really surprise an audience, leaders need to get creative, go deep and think smart
- Make it fun – people don’t usually expect their business leaders to be in the ‘fun’ game. Memorable tactics at leadership events such as gamification, virtual reality and team building really connect a leader to the rest of the organisation
- Make it personal – if we feel something, we’re more likely to act on it. Tell personal stories, share your own memories, reflect on your own life experiences. Bring your thinking to life through creative, disruptive communications that get remembered
- Forget perfection – employees no longer want a filtered, polished version of their leaders – they want real, human interventions delivering information in an authentic way. Get out from behind the camera, forget the polished corp comms script and just get out there and talk to your people.