For many entrepreneurs, experience can have a major impact on the way they conduct business. Whether it’s changing a marketing strategy after an unexpected failure or pivoting a product after getting more acquainted with their target audience’s needs, leaders must constantly evolve alongside their businesses if they’re to succeed long term. This can also mean changing the way they interact with their customers, their employees and their peers on a regular basis.
As business leaders themselves, these 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council have evolved in their own ways over the course of their careers. Here, they each share how becoming a more experienced leader has changed the way they speak to others and what impact this has had on their business overall.
1. I Treat Every Interaction As A Learning Opportunity
I’ve become conscious that every interaction is an opportunity to help people learn something new. I don’t mean that a leader should preach constantly but rather give instructions and explain things so that it leads to a good understanding. This way of speaking has helped everyone understand the purpose of the business and their roles, and this leads to less confusion and better performance. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
2. I Take A More Interactive Approach
Humility is an admirable trait in leadership, so I use a more interactive communication style with others. I’ve found that people are more likely to listen and be receptive to my ideas when there’s give and take in the communication. This change has positively impacted my ability to lead effectively, as there’s better work collaboration and respectful relationships. – Tonika Bruce, Lead Nicely, Inc.
3. I Regularly Offer Recognition
I regularly give specific recognition for individual team members’ strengths and the actions they took that exemplified those strengths. Additionally, by setting this example, I’m helping to foster a culture where the members of the team are encouraged to publicly recognize each other’s strengths and show appreciation when people go above and beyond. – Christina Drake, Willa’s Oat Milks
4. I Ensure Clarity Before Moving Forward
I’ve learned not to assume that people understand what I’m saying. Now, I ask questions and ensure my employees don’t just understand but are also on board with what I’ve said. Miscommunication and misunderstanding can create delays and added expenses as well as frustration and stress. When I’m clear and get buy-in at the beginning, outcomes improve. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
5. I Tailor My Communication To The Other Party
As I gained experience, I learned to tailor my approach to the person or group I’m addressing. The same information may have a different impact on someone based on their needs, level of knowledge and position (customer, team member, IT expert, salesperson or others). Before I speak, I consider what the other person needs and will best understand. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
6. I Use ‘We’ Instead Of ‘I’
I have learned to use “we” when describing all things—positive and negative. We are a team, and we function as a complete unit. There is no such thing as “I” asked you to get this done and “you” did not complete it. It’s more like, “We had a target to complete, but we did not get it finished on time. How can we correct this?” Speaking this way shows that we are on the same team and need to work together to accomplish goals. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
7. I Treat Others How I Want To Be Treated
Timeless values like treating others the way you wish to be treated become amplified when you’re communicating as a leader. It’s still possible to sound authoritative while letting the people who are giving you their time have dignity, even in the middle of a disagreement. The dividends this pays are a culture of loyalty and a sound, clear mind. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
8. I Exchange More Feedback
I’ve started to exchange more feedback with my colleagues, employees and customers. While maintaining a balance of listening and giving advice, I’ve found that this has had a positive impact on my relationships with them, as it allows me to better understand their needs and concerns, and has helped to build trust. – Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme
9. I’m More Direct, Candid And Concise
One thing I’ve changed about the way I speak to others is that I’m more direct, candid and concise. This has helped me get my point across in a more effective way. I have found that people are more receptive to my thoughts and ideas when they are being communicated in a clear and concise manner. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
10. I Speak Less And Listen More
My experience has taught me to be a better listener. So, I prefer to speak less and listen more to what others have to say. This has had a huge impact. When you listen to others, they feel valued and experience a sense of belonging, whether they’re colleagues, employees or customers. Being a good listener helps you earn trust, build rapport and acknowledge lasting relationships. – Jared Atchison, WPForms