Inspire Your Team and Gain Respect Through Your Writing
Whether you like it or not, people form impressions of you based on how you write.
Most people acknowledge the power of communication in the business world. After all, how else do we establish trust and build relationships? But not everyone recognizes the power of the written word as part of this vital communication. Hand to heart: how often do you stop to consider how your writing affects colleagues? The truth is, written communication helps shape your personal brand as a leader. Take the following into consideration:
Poorly written communication is demoralizing for workers to read.
Clear, authentic writing boosts feelings of empowerment and success.
The written “you”
Whether you like it or not, people form impressions of you based on how you write. When you consistently drop greetings or salutations in your e-mails, you may think people will just presume you are busy. In fact, you may come across as aloof and unfriendly. This is why corporate writing training is eye-opening for many leaders in the business world. They have no idea the effect their writing has on their ability to lead!
From distant boss to engaged leader
Look at the e-mails below. Which do you think will leave your team members feeling energized and empowered?
- “With regards to your previous e-mail with the attached report, pls arrange a meeting to discuss.”
- “Sam, thank you for that well crafted and thoughtful report! I would like to discuss this with you in person. Can you please set up a meeting for us? Keep up the good work!”
E-mail 2 seems to be written by an entirely different person: a supportive, genuine and engaged leader. Keeping a message personable, positive and simple will do that for you! But formal language or exaggerated brevity—using abbreviations such as “pls” or “thx,” or failing to address someone properly—can create distance between you and your team members.
What about constructive feedback?
Okay, so teammates are not always going to produce stellar results. Maybe you are upset, bordering on angry, because of someone’s poor performance. Always stop to consider whether you should provide the feedback in writing or in person. Writing something derogatory about someone may give you 5 seconds of satisfaction, but may ruin a working relationship forever. Don’t take the risk.
If you are writing feedback on a report, keep it positive and constructive. “Rewrite” is not a constructive comment, nor is it helpful to mark a whole section with a huge question mark. First, be positive and comment on what you like. Then, be specific about what you are looking for. Do you want a more professional tone? Are you looking for more examples? A different format? Then say so in a collaborative way.
Be efficient and gain respect
As a leader, you may be so busy it makes your head spin; maybe you are shooting off e-mails before you have time to think. Taking an extra minute to consider the outcome you want can save both you and your team members a lot of time. What is your bottom line? By when do you need things done? Use clear headlines and make sure you put your main points at the top of the message. You will come across as an efficient leader and you will gain respect from it.
Consider a business writing course next time you think of investing in leadership development. You can boost your personal brand as a leader through the way you write. And that may do more for team morale and company productivity than any other professional development program!
This blog originally appeared on this site.