Technology. Leadership.

The value of frequent conversations with the team

Lessons from observing different leadership and communication styles..

Leaders should talk more frequently, with a deeper + wider audience in their team.

I used to be a very silent leader. My conversations were frequent and verbose when connecting with my directs. The lower down the hierarchy I went, the more sparse my communications became. This was the norm from my early days. It is wrong.

When I look back, I always felt more connected with a leader who spoke with me directly. I could relate with the bigger goal, the company's direction. I could even do a fuzzy correlation between my work and how the company is growing.

The silent leadership style was probably inherited from non-tech industries with more rigid hierarchies and processes - especially Finance, one of the earliest adopters of tech at scale. It hurts more than helps in tech. The rate of change, the quick escalation in scale of value as well as impact of issues is very different in core-tech. In such an environment, it is easy to feel lost unless the person at the helm is reachable, audible and communicative.

Frequent conversations with a wide audience might be tough for some - it definitely is for me. There is the self-doubt of not knowing every detail. The nagging question of something you say not sitting right with a person closer to the action, because of difference in context. These issues might crop up. Every time I look back though, I realize that I was far more forgiving of a leader who did not know all than of one who was silent all the time.

Here's hoping I get treated with the same forgiveness for my mistakes and appreciated for putting time in for more one on one conversations across the team.