I know…you’re too busy, you can’t afford to return phone calls. Often you get back to your desk and see a few missed calls.
“They’ll call back if it’s really important.”
Being sure to return phone calls and messages is an aspect of communication like any other and it can have an effect on how you are perceived and believe it or not, your relationships with others.
As a new or aspiring leader, you need to build good communication habits. One of those habits is to return phone calls and messages.
Before you decide not to return your next missed call, have a quick think about the possible consequences.
When you don’t return phone calls, people think you’re too hard to contact
I get it, you’re busy. You may even be one of those people who runs around saying “I’m so busy”. When you don’t return phone calls and people can’t get in touch with you, communicating with you might just become more trouble than it’s worth.
Unless you’re *really* important, people will simply stop asking your opinion because you aren’t contactable. You’re probably only early into your leadership journey, you can’t really afford to be perceived as somebody who is to hard to communicate with, can you?
When you don’t return phone calls, you miss out on opportunities to provide input
When you don’t return calls, people may just be making decisions and doing things without you because you can’t be bothered to pick up the phone.
Suddenly you’re “I’m so busy” becomes “Why wasn’t I consulted about this?” All of a sudden that urgent report that needed to go out has gone out. Without you looking at it. As a new leader, it’s imperative that you take your opportunities to provide input and cultivate a good impression. Being somebody who is absent from the discussion isn’t likely to get you very far.
When you don’t return phone calls, people think you’re passive aggressive or have bad manners
If you’re somebody who deals with customers or other stakeholders, it’s good practice to keep in contact them and at least act like you care about what they have to say. It’s just good manners and it sets the tone for your team. If you appear as if you don’t need to return phone calls, do you think your team is going to?
You’re a role model now…better act like it! Pick up that phone.
When you don’t return phone calls, it impacts productivity
Let’s take a quick look at the potential knock-on effects of not returning a phone call. The caller may be waiting to get your input. They aren’t going to call every minute, so they wait for 10 minutes to see if you’re there. Then they wait for another 30 minutes because you might be at lunch. They might even start working on something and head in the wrong direction because you weren’t able to provide input. This has the potential to result in rework and wasted time.
Or – you could just return that call and be somebody who reliably returns calls. Then the person on the other end knows that you will call when you can. This cuts the waiting game and the “phone tag” down. All of a sudden, you’re somebody who is accessible and communicative. These are great attributes in a leader.
As a new leader, start building good habits to become a great communicator. Returning a phone call might not seem like a momentous event, but every little bit helps you to build a reputation as a solid, communicative leader.