You can improve your leadership and coaching skills, but those advances may be nullified if your communication skills are poor. Our research shows gaps in how effectively team leaders believe they communicate compared to how effectively the younger cohort says their team’s leaders communicate.
For example, 86% of team leaders report that they’re very or highly effective at communicating with their teams, while 75% of next gen advisors agree. In addition, a quarter of next gen advisors report that their team leaders aren’t effective at communication. These millennial advisors want their leaders to discuss obstacles, facilitate engagement and check in with them for understanding.
Bridging The Communication Gap
Successful communication means creating a two-way street for delivering information and providing and receiving feedback. It sounds simple, in theory. However, the reality is that people have different communication styles and needs. And unless you’re regularly checking in about the effectiveness of your communication, things may be lost in translation.
To improve your communication with your team, lead advisors can:
• Create specific communication channels. Don’t rely on statements in passing or casual conversation to relay
important information about your firm, your expectations and your employees’ performance. Instead, create specific forums for information such as a five minute stand-up meeting every morning, lunches with individual employees and shared firm documents. For your next gen employees, explore using multiple communication methods from texts to video to reinforce key messages.
• Look for red flags that communication is failing. If a next gen advisor doesn’t meet expectations, it could be because they didn’t understand — or the direction wasn’t clear. Circle back with your advisors to determine where the communication gaps are and make time to regularly check for understanding before people get too far afield.
To better communicate with their lead advisors, the next gen can:
• Make use of tools and processes provided. Identify how the advisors on your team and in your firm are communicating, whether via email, over conversations at their desk or via instant messaging apps such as Slack. Make use of those tools and join the conversations. Ask questions if you need clarity. And provide suggestions for improving communication if something isn’t working for you.
Every generation is unique, and the differences are nothing new. However, when it comes to building an effective multi-generational team, you need to recognize what each party brings to the table as well as their unique needs. By doing so, you can move past these disconnects and grow into more efficient, successful firm that can withstand the test of time.