Every day we are faced with new challenges, questions, problems, and needs. And attached to nearly every one of those issues are people who are waiting on a response. Each of us—and particularly those in leadership roles—must daily prioritize, delegate, and problem solve,, all while balancing the expectations and desires of the people whom those decisions affect.
Communication is a critical part of being responsive. Here are a few tips for being responsive and achieving greater success when dealing with the needs and expectations of others:
- Promptly acknowledge a need or request. This ensures that those involved know that their need has been recognized and something is being done about it. If you’ve ever sent an email or left a voice message and waited hours, days, or even weeks to receive a reply, you understand the value of a prompt response. Even if an immediate resolution is not possible, that basic acknowledgement of the need is an important first step.
- Follow up regularly. Lack of communication can seriously diminish your efforts in responding to a need. By failing to communicate about what you are doing to address a problem, you risk losing the confidence of those depending on you to help. No matter how quickly and appropriately you begin working on resolving a need, if those involved don’t know how or if you’re doing something about it, then you will not be perceived as responsive. This can have major ramifications to your influence and effectiveness.
- Follow through on promises. Hand in hand with regular communication and follow-up is the commitment to consistently follow through on whatever actions you have promised to take. This is critical. Without consistent follow-through, your impact and credibility will be seriously undermined!
Of course, not every resolution works out perfectly. Things do change, and no matter your intentions and efforts, you will not be able to follow through exactly as promised in every situation. But by regularly following up and consistently communicating throughout the process as you find another resolution, you will still set an example and make an impression as a responsive and dependable friend, colleague, and leader!
[This article was adapted from Chapter 8 of my book, Be An Inspirational Leader]