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Leadership Communications -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
As a leader, what kind of feedback should I give to my team memberss?

Answer:
There are a number of ways for a leader to give feedback to his/her team members. For example, a periodic employee evaluation is a formal way to review an individuals contribution to the organization and his/her future goals. Leaders should use constructive critism to address areas in need of improvement and praise to recognize achievements. Awards, promotions, and public recognition are other ways to reward employees for successful work. Feedback can also come in a more simpler form such as a verbal "thank you" or "you did a great job on that last assignment." Check with the references listed here for more information on leadership feedback tools.

Question:
As the incoming Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader, what are some tips to make the transition go smooth?

Answer:
One of the most productive things you can do is to communicate in advance with the outgoing Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader to obtain transition information (e.g., unit rosters, Appropriated funds, After Action Reports from events, etc.). The outgoing FRG leader can also brief you about community issues and give you a status report about the FRG such as ongoing issues, upcoming events they have planned, etc. The other thing you can do to make a smooth transition is to meet with the unit commander to discuss ideas and goals. Introduce yourself to community leaders with whom you may be working and also make a point to meet current FRG chairpersons. When you have your first FRG meeting, keep the agenda simple. Include introductions and perhaps take a survey of the members to see what their interests are. Learn more about leading an FRG from the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook as well as from the other resources provided.

Question:
As the new Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader, where do I obtain contact information for new Soldiers and families?

Answer:
The unit commander should have appointed a person in the unit to provide you with that information. In most cases, it will be the Family Readiness Liaison or someone in the S1 (Personnel) shop. If the unit is deployed, check with the Rear Detachment for this information. For more information on starting and leading a Family Readiness Group (FRG), refer to the Army Family Readiness Group Leader's Handbook as well as the other resources listed.

Question:
How can I get my staff to embrace different communication tools such as email instead of telephone calls and video teleconferencing instead of on-site meetings?

Answer:
Introducing change of any kind in an organization can often be met with skepticism and other difficulties, but it’s very important for most business to keep up with technological advances. One suggestion for gaining more support from your staff members is to include them in the change process. It might help to appoint members of your staff to do the research on some of the new tools you would like to implement. Encourage them to use and improve their technical skills by providing training and demonstrating to them how these skills and new tools can benefit them as well as increase efficiency in the organization. Learn more about adapting to change and/or communication skills from the references provided.

Question:
How can I get people to participate in our Family Readiness Group?

Answer:
Because participation in a Family Readiness Group (FRG) is voluntary, the only way to get people involved is to make it something that they want to be involved in. The first thing you need to do is to educate Soldiers, family members, etc. on the benefits of FRGs. As a unit commander, you can talk about FRGs at unit formations or command and staff meetings. You can speak to family members at coffees or during the unit organization day. As an FRG leader or publicity chairperson, you can create flyers and/or distribute newsletters about the FRG and what events are taking place. Meet new Soldiers and their families when they arrive and encourage them to participate. Coordinate transportation for them to the next FRG meeting or activity. These are just a few suggestions on how to get FRG members involved. Learn more about FRGs from the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook and the other resources listed.

Question:
How can our volunteer organization's advisor assist when there's group conflict?

Answer:
One of the advisor's roles is to serve as a mediator in times of organizational crises. Your advisor should remain objective when dealing with emotional or divisive group issues, but he/she can provide guidance from his/her own experiences or provide direction in terms of outside resources that can assist. Additionally, it is important for the advisor to be knowledgeable about any laws, regulations, and ethical considerations that may apply to the situation. The advisor can provide suggestions to help the group resolve their problems, but should do so without influencing the group's decision.

Question:
How do you create a telephone tree?

Answer:
The purpose of a telephone tree is to facilitate communication among members of a group. Rather than have one person call all members of a group to relay information, the leader (or top of the telephone tree) calls several specific members with the message and they, in turn, pass it on to the next person in their chain. In a company-level Family Readiness Group (FRG), for example, the telephone tree may be set up such that the FRG leader would call designated point of contacts (POCs) for each of the company’s platoons. The POC for each of the platoons would contact the next person in their chain, who calls the next person, and so on. In order to ensure that the message reaches all members of the group, it is helpful for the last person in the chain to call the first person in the chain to inform them that the list has been completed. In this example, the last person in the chain at the platoon-level would call the platoon POC. Each of the platoon POCs would then call the FRG leader. This is a very effective way to pass information on to everyone in the group as quickly as possible.

Question:
How does one group member's failure affect the group's leader?

Answer:
The affects of individual failures and achievements on the group’s leader really depend on the situation and the enormity of the failure or achievement. In general, however, the group leader should accept responsibility for both the achievements and failures of the group by providing a work environment that encourages open communication among team members. The leader should be receptive to good news and bad news to insure open communication and demonstrate his/her acceptance of all members in the group.

Question:
How important is it for community leaders to keep their personal grievances private?

Answer:
Because community leaders are often in the public eye, others often scrutinize their actions much more than the average person. Their reputations are affected by their actions and they way others perceive them to be. When community leaders publicly express personal grievances, there may be a negative impact on personal and organizational credibility, effectiveness, and reputation. Therefore, to be an effective community leader, it is important to demonstrate behavior that reflects positively on both the leader and organization. This does cannot voice their personal grievances, but that they should be aware of the possible consequences of their actions.

Question:
How important is it for strategic leaders to communicate with, or obtain information from, all levels of the organization?

Answer:
Although their communication and influence may be indirect to some members, strategic leaders often rely on a free flow of information from all levels of the organization to ensure that the organization’s vision is understood by all members. Therefore, it is important to keep communication channels open.
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