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Don’t Just Communicate. Over-Communicate!
Workplaces are going virtual, teams are spread across geographies and meetings are turning into Slack huddles or Hangouts — welcome to the era of over-communication!
Over-communication might sound unproductive or counter intuitive to some but with increased need of distributed collaboration, owing to the remote or hybrid work setups, over-communication is becoming table stakes!
According to Lee Ellis, leadership consultant, author, presenter, retired colonel USAF, “Over-communicating is the glue that holds a high-performing team together and keeps them focused in the same direction. And, it circles back to clarity. Without good, consistent communication, you don’t have clarity.”
Over-communication is an important tool, particularly for fast-growing companies. Many times leaders rely on specific events, be it good or bad for communication. However, as leaders we need to intentionally find more opportunities to communicate with the teams. This is particularly relevant in hybrid and remote teams where there is increased reliance on constant communication for goal alignment.
It’s also important to recognize the fact that over-communication doesn’t come naturally to all. While extroverts may find it doable, introverts can find it tiring. This is why it is important to know when to over-communicate, especially in times of change and crisis. Also be vulnerable, if needed.
If you are leading large teams, scaling up your teams or have significant cross functional responsibilities, you will find that communication (and over communication) is a part of your job responsibilities! As someone who has been an entrepreneur from very early in his career, I found it necessary to communicate repeatedly about important things so that more and more clarity could be driven across the organization.
What Over-Communication is Not?
Communicating effectively is not easy! I continue to get it wrong many times even now, after being in leadership positions for more than a decade.
Here are few things I have learnt about what it is not -
Over-communication doesn’t mean using more words to communicate the same thing or taking more time. It means to increase the frequency of effective communication. It’s definitely not over-dumping of information or micromanagement.
It’s also not wasting your time by bombarding your team’s inbox with emails or asking them to tag you on each email. Rather, it’s about increased understanding and alignment — prioritizing and delivering the right information in the right manner at the right time.
It is important to point out that building a culture of “effective over-communication” requires you to build trust between the employees and the leadership as trust is important for communication to flow both ways.
Today there is no dearth of tools that can help you communicate, even in a remote setup. In fact, most organizations have adapted themselves where it would be easy to over communicate.
It can be tiring at times and it’s definitely a muscle that needs to be built overtime but it has enough merit for everyone, whether you are a distributed team, hybrid workplace, remote or work from office.
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