Management is all about communication. The ability to clearly and definitively convey ideas, enlist others to help, and rally support for initiatives is what makes for a more effective manager. This is a primary skill to go beyond being a task manager and transforming yourself into a people manager. And it is the first step into the transformation from manager to leader.
Typically, managers get to where they are by excelling in their previous role. Those who are proficient in a particular skill set valuable to the organization get promoted to higher levels where they start to manage others who do the same kind of work. Unfortunately, we don’t always provide training on how to go from an excellent worker to an excellent manager.
In today’s world, there is more and more emphasis on talent analytics. Whether it is big data, analysis of performance data, time/value ratios, we are awash in more data than ever. No matter what your role, if you’re managing people, you need to be able to speak the language of analytics and information.
The reason isn’t simply that more data is available. It is because a huge part of managing people is building trust and credibility with your team. One clear way to do that is to show that you know the numbers and information behind the work you’re doing and you know how to communicate that information.
Furthermore, our research has shown that one the four primary modes of thinking that we all possess is Analytical Thinking. Each one of us has a part of our brain that desires data, looks for rational and logical information, is concerned with the numbers, wants to see proof, and needs to figure out how things work.
Not everyone has a preference for thinking this way, but we all possess Analytical thinking and we all can (and do) use it. Some people in your organization though (I’ll bet you can name them), are highly Analytical in their thinking. They always push you for proof. They always ask, Why? They consistently look to research and bring more data.
In order to be a more effective manager and use analytics to your advantage, here are six ways to communicate from an Analytical perspective:
- Prepare ahead of time to cover all your bases: There is nothing more critical to showing that you know what you’re talking about than by preparing and thinking ahead of time about the kinds of questions you’ll get and how to answer them. Depending on the analytics involved, this can be a time-consuming process, so ensure you provide yourself the proper amount of ramp-up time.
- Get to the point: At times, you’ll need to use emotion to drive home a point, but in most interactions as a manager, it will serve you well to just be direct and to-the-point. Using data and analytics are an easy way to be clear and direct. If you’ve got the facts, nobody can argue with it.
- Back up facts with logic and data: Using logical reasoning and data is critical to bolstering facts. Even if the facts are clear, they can be strengthened even more so by bringing solid data that supports your point.
- Speak concisely and plainly: Flowery and overly emotive language isn’t necessary when you’re communicating Analytically. Those around you who have a preference for Analytical Thinking will get lost if the message is buried behind too much fluff. Don’t be afraid to overly clear and don’t feel the need to use more complicated words than necessary. That won’t make you sound smart and will just confuse your audience.
- Establish credentials: Analysis and data are often about credentials. It’s important to establish why you have authority on a particular subject. This doesn’t mean that you have to be the world’s foremost expert on a particular topic. However, it does mean that you should note what you bring to the table, even if that is as simple as the research you’ve done on the subject or your experience.
- Focus on solving the problem: Analytical thinking is built to solve problems, and people who prefer to think this way enjoy the thrill of solving a problem. So, if you’re going to be a more Analytical manager, that means that you need to focus on the problem at hand. Be proactive and look for where a problem can be solved. Then figure out how to get there.
Analysis is a key part of being a more effective manager and a more complete leader. And no matter what your preferred modes of thinking are, any person can be deliberate about how to use more analysis, data, and logic to strengthen their leadership.