What to do when leaders don’t listen

You’re an internal communications genius, right? So why is it that leaders sometimes don’t listen to your ideas? Maybe it’s because you’re having the wrong sort of conversation with them, at the wrong time and in the wrong places.

Here are four ideas to help you change the conversation with leaders to gain their active support.

Don’t talk theory

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to get leadership buy in for your ideas is to try and have a conversation about communications theory. I sometimes tried this during my early communications career when surfing the achievement wave of gaining some internal communication qualifications. It never worked.

One of the great things about doing a qualification is that you finally understand the theoretical reasons why some of the communication tactics you’ve been using for years actually work (and more importantly why others don’t). Brimming with this knowledge you naturally want to share it with others as the justification for your communications approach.

Sadly, your enthusiasm is unlikely to be shared by leaders and talking theory at them can be the quickest way to being shown the door and leaving with nothing. In my experience, they tend to be more interested in understanding your communications strategy, the tactics which support this and the business objectives which both are designed to achieve. So, focus on these things rather than the theory behind why they work.

Save your musings about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the Kubler Ross change curve for your conversations with other internal communicators, and not for those which you have with your organisation’s leadership team.

The rest of this blog, including the three remaining ideas on how to change the conversation with leaders to get their attention, is published on the Browning York website.

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