When messages aren’t clear, whether intentionally done or not, it may build resentment, make the goal unclear, or disengage your team. In this episode, John Laurito talks about the importance of making your communications clear and the results of delivering an ambiguous message. So if you are a leader, make sure you tune in and get some great information on what to do and what not to do when it comes to delivering messages to your team.
[1:23] Quick spin class story
[6:00] As a leader: how clear are you when you communicate?
[7:18] When you change the message on the fly
[8:21] Think – feel – do
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader related related to leading yourself and leading others. I am John Laurito, your host with you today. And joining me today in the background is my landscaping guru right outside the window.
John Yes, they are; waiting for them to shift a little and move. But you know what? I appreciate what they’re doing. I love them. They’re a great team. And so they’re joining me on the pod. Yeah. So if you hear that nice relaxing hum in the background, I just recorded another episode and they were part of that one, too. That’s the background music that’s being supplied to you today by the landscaping crew. Boy, I wish I remembered the name of the company. But anyway, good guys. Very good guys. OK, so I want to. I want to share a quick story. Quick episode today. And it has to do with messages and how clear we are with messages, and this just experience made me realize, wow, you almost forget what happens when messages are not clear.
John So I do a spin class every Thursday morning with my training partner, Jeff, and he and I dread this class because the teacher, the class Brian is just an evil, evil bastard. He really is. He’s very in shape. He lives, eats, breathes, biking. He is an outstanding bicyclist, cyclist, and athlete in general. He looks great and great personality, great looking dude, incredible strength, physique. And so obviously we don’t like him. But he teaches a class that’s really painful and it’s also why we don’t like them. So we like the effects. We just don’t like going there. So to be very honest with you, I dread Thursday morning. I really do. I start thinking about it Wednesday night, and I’m like, Just because the class is tough. I know Jeff says the same thing.
John So if he’s out there listening, which I know he is, he’ll corroborate my message. So in any event, we show up on Thursday morning. This was, I think, last week or the week before, and it was different. Teacher, this teacher, I think her name is Melissa. Melissa was filling in for him, for Brian, who is, I think, competing somewhere, doing a race. So he was out. So, you know, you always have every teacher has a different style and everything like that. And I noticed right away that this teacher now, aside from having a different style, excuse me, she had her own microphone and it just it was very hard to understand and you got music playing and everything like that. And I just I started, I’m just trying to pay attention because the teacher has been in a spin class.
John They’re leading you through all the different intervals. And here’s what we’re doing. We’re doing strength, we’re doing stamina. We’re, you know, turn it to the right and whatever. Here’s where your cadence should be. And I’m trying to listen and pay attention, and I can’t for the life of me, understand what she’s saying. Like more than half of what she was saying, sounded like it was wrong. And I just it was just mumbling, and I was so frustrated because I try so hard to listen. I would look at other people. They were confused because I couldn’t tell who was in motion and who wasn’t and what they were. Where are we in a respirator? We are supposed to be pushing it hard.
John The bottom line is I get done with the workout and I met up with Jeff after the class. He said, Hey, what did you think of the teacher? And I said, You know, I hated her. I hated her. And I’m like, You know, I obviously didn’t hate her personally, but I hated the experience because it was so frustrating and because I could not understand her what she was saying. I totally became very frustrated. I disengaged. I didn’t even try to listen after a period of time. And I did my own thing. And you know, you can tell how good of a workout it is. You can tell how what your Oh, what’s it called not your RPMs? But I know somebody will text me and tell me what it is, but you’re basically you’re out it. You’re you’re not what’s. But maybe there’s what’s anyway, your your your force that you’re putting into it. So you can kind of tell what kind of work you got. And it was just not even close to my best workout. And it made me frustrated and really frustrated her because I’m like, All right, you’re the leader in this class.
John And it’s up to me, though, right? It’s my workout. I own how much, how hard I work. I could have engaged in been more, you know, energized, and worked harder through the class. But I didn’t because I was frustrated and my frustration turned to anger and resentment. And that anger resentment went toward her because I was counting on her to give me the experience that Brian gave me and his leadership, which was excellent. And because I couldn’t understand what she said, I just was confused, frustrated and then resentful. And then I, as Jeff, asked me what I think of her. I said I hate her. It became personal, right? Which is totally unjustified. It’s not a personal attack on her, but that’s what happens and what we have to remind ourselves as a leader. This is the leadership message in this How clear are your messages? How clear are you with what you were saying? And let me just run something by you.
John There are times where you think you are clear. You may think you’re crystal clear and people don’t understand what you’re saying. And part of this is because our brain and our mouth do not always operate in perfect synchronicity. I could have many things in my brain that don’t, some of which don’t come out of my mouth. I could have in my mind a certain way that I want to say something. But when it comes out of my mouth, I might use hedge words. I might use one little word that changes the entire message, because when I’m in that situation, whether it’s I’m reading nonverbal verbal body language or a verbal body language verbal language that tells me, OK, maybe I need to change this. It’s kind of like when I’m putting for some reason that I’m playing golf. I have this really weird habit. I’ll line up the putt perfectly.
John I’ll get the club face square its angle. It’s aimed right at the right spot. And as I’m pulling it back, I second guess myself and I change the angle of my club head right as I’m about to hit the ball. And inevitably, I jerk it left or put it out there to the right. It happens so much. It’s so frustrating. And that’s why you don’t hear me breaking any records in the golf course. But the same is true for how we communicate. Sometimes we have a perfect message in our mind, and then we misread or read somebody and we change it, or we look at the audience and we change the message. And then in doing that at that on the fly moment, it becomes not the message we want or very confusing or unclear or garbled. And that is what happens. What happened to me is what happens to your people? They become confused. They become frustrated.
John They become then resentful because they just don’t understand. And then they disengage and disengaged. People in a workplace or an organization are absolutely deadly for you and for them when they disengage, that’s not doing them any good and they’re ultimately going to check out. So part of this just comes down to clarity of message and being really crystal clear what you were trying to get across. Is this a message where I’m trying? And again, I’ve talked about this in past episodes. I’m always going through my mind. Think, feel, do if I have a message, what I want this. People think a person’s thinking is a result of this. How do I want them to feel?
John And what do I want them doing as a result of it? Think, feel, do OK. What does my message need to sound like to get them to think, feel and do what my goal is? That’s key. If I’m giving somebody a tough message, I need to let them know that I can’t button it up too much. Is this great message? And then they don’t. They don’t get the point. If I’m disappointed with somebody, I got to say that, Hey, listen, I got to tell you, I don’t question your intent, but I’m really disappointed with what has happened in this situation. My expectations were here. You came in here. Here’s why, and here’s what I observed specifically, that makes me feel that way. Think about the whole message model, which I’ve gone through in past episodes, and you can search that and see that one. That’s a great model. My thoughts, feelings, actions, observations, thoughts, feelings, actions. Here’s what I saw. Here’s what it makes me think and feel. And here’s what I expect in terms of actions.
John That’s a great model to make sure you’ve got clear communication but think about this if you can say something. It’s interesting because editors of movies are exceptionally valuable because their responsibility is to bubble up to the watcher. The movie watcher, what are the critical parts of this movie? And in order to do that, they have to eliminate the non-essentials. They have to eliminate the fluff and the things that aren’t going to contribute to the message. The think, feel, do, right? It’s and that’s the editor’s job. And it’s not always about removing words. But if you can say something in two sentences, why say it in five? In reality, if you can say something in two words, we say it in five words.
John If you can do it and communicate shorter is always better, it’s going to be more impactful. I’ve seen people that go on and on and on and on and on. And ultimately, they just either repeat the message or make it too cloudy or confusing. That’s why some of my podcasts have been four minutes. Listen, I got something to say. I’m going to share it when I’m done done. I don’t follow a structure of every podcast to be 20 minutes or 30 minutes, or every interview has to be an hour. Listen, when I feel like I’ve communicated what I want to communicate in the right way, and sometimes I need to recycle through a couple of different examples of a point or tell a story to emphasize a point. But when I’ve communicated what I want to communicate, great done.
John I don’t believe I used to be at a point in my career where it was like every meeting had to be. We blocked off half an hour. It had to last an hour, it couldn’t end early. If it was an hour, it’s got to be an hour. Well, let’s figure out what we got to put in here to fill up the time. What? That’s not how life works. That’s the biggest waste. And if you’re in that type of organization and you’re the leader running it, you’re to blame if you’re not. You got to tell your leader, Listen, I think we can do this. Our meeting is in half an hour. And here’s how. And believe me, I’ve been on the delivery side of those our meetings, it could have been a half an hour. And I look back now like, what was I thinking? It was just literally a time suck for everybody. And I could have gotten it done much shorter. Why not if a meeting can be seven minutes?
John Why not do a meeting for seven minutes? Why keep everybody there for 15 or 20 or whatnot, or 30 or 40 or an hour? Why? All you’re doing is you’re taking something that could be positive and making it negative and frustrating everybody and ultimately having this negative ripple effect. OK. Be clear and be concise to see is clear and concise. Concise, concise. Concise. All right. Get it. All right. Got it. OK. As always, please, I mentioned this in the last episode.
John Please go review this podcast. I’ll make the same offer I did in the last podcast, the first five people. I’m recording these episodes on October 5th, the first five people that review. They go on their review. I will send you a personalized autographed copy of my book, Tomorrow’s Leader on Me. No charge. I will send it to tomorrow’s leader. How the best leaders become better in a fast changing world. That’s how important your feedback is in your reviews. It changes the analytics it gets in, the more in front of more people. It expands the audience, and that’s something that’s important to me. I want this to get out there.
John I want these stories and these examples and leadership topics and techniques to get in the hands of leaders all over the place where in 66 different countries, which is phenomenal. Let’s expand that base of fans of tomorrow’s leader, just like you to other people that could use this valuable info. So thank you for listening. Thank you for being a loyal fan. As always, share like subscribe and go down below and give a five star review. Thanks. Have a good one!
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching. Reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, lead on!