Effective Communication

is a leaders most important attribute

deBa is specifically designed so leaders can demonstrate their communication behaviours, whilst holding them to account to further and continuously improve their leadership effectiveness.


Practice makes perfect


Behaviour focussed


Transparent and informal continuous feedback


"Communication, in all its forms, is one of the most important skills that leaders need to be successful. For new and emerging leaders, or for people that are not natural communicators, this concept can be very daunting"

Group 19

Improving Workplace Communication

In many workplaces, very little effective training is available to upskill leaders, and so their learning and skills development is often via observing the habits of others, which can be hit and miss at best. Also, for years, we have been schooled, to provide feedback in a formal, structured way that does not foster engagement or indeed create great leaders. I would even go as far as saying that many leaders and managers do not properly distinguish between giving feedback and counselling or disciplining someone. Hence, it is often structured, formal and ineffective.

deBa is designed to solve this underlying workplace problem by helping establish a company-wide habit of regular and transparent communication through continuous feedback.

Why deBa?

As believers of a Continuous Improvement culture, we are always looking to improve our communication skills. The first step in understanding best practice communication is to first understand why, how and when we communicate.

deBa is the tool that enables this deliberate practice every day within the workplace and leads to practical skill development for leaders, a more transparent culture and an overall more productive and engaging workplace.

Best Practice Communication - The Why

Effective communication is perhaps the most important of all life skills. All workplace conflicts and breakdowns invariably are the result of a failure in communication whether it be between individuals or organisational wide.

Without effective communication relationships fail, performance suffers, and outcomes will, at best, be mediocre.  

Good Communication skills are deliberate, fearless, respectful and inclusive and teams who practice regular and open communication are some of the most successful.

This is why deBa was developed.

Best Practice Communication - The How

Historically, feedback was viewed as one-dimensional with information flowing from the boss to the subordinate, however more contemporary views of feedback are that it’s a process; a two-way interaction between individuals. 

Feedback is a shared conversation focused on building knowledge rather than merely delivering information.

 The more we empower people through good communication and feedback, the more accepting people will become and feedback will be seen as a positive aspect of the workplace culture.

The best leaders make their people feel that they are valuable through authenticity and by building trust. They do this by understanding that individuals require a personal approach, not a robotic and overly formalised style of communication. The best leaders communicate in the following way:

1. Informally for the bulk of their communication

2. Do it often and keep it simple

3. Balance their feedback with positive and constructive

4. Seek and accept feedback

5. Listen!

6. Close the loop when follow up is required

Best Practice Communication - The When

There is no one-size-fits-all for when communication should occur, there are however some key ingredients that go to the heart of when communication is important in promoting positive relationships and workplace culture.

1. To share information

2. To provide positive feedback and reinforcement of values

3. To share observations about something that may need to be addressed or improved

4. To seek feedback or collaboration

5. To engage on a personal level when appropriate


"An individual may possess every other leadership quality, however without the skill of effective communication, they will always fail at leadership."

Group 19

A supporting conversation is one that is more two-way than a coaching conversation and is designed to engage with your team members at a deeper level.

Focusing on the specific behaviour or goal;

The idea of a supporting conversation is to keep improvement at the forefront of everyone’s mind and to maintain the focus on specific behaviours.

Additionally, a supporting conversation opens the opportunity for leaders to provide more in-depth and customised support and guidance on their team members improvement journey. A supporting conversation typically has the following attributes:

* Engagement: The leader should engage their team member in a two-way conversation focused on a specific behaviour or goal they are looking to improve upon.

* Extraction: The leader should aim to extract as much insight from their team member to understand how well they are adapting to previous guidance and if they have any challenges or misunderstandings.

* Encouragement: Positive encouragement is key to maintaining motivation and focus for the team member. The leader should make a point of highlighting the elements that are going well and encourage them with any challenges they have.

Recognising effort and positive results delivered by a team member is a leaders most effective and easily available action. Being acknowledged for a job well done is proven to create a greater sense of dedication in your team. Recognition conversations should include:

* Praise: Heartfelt and meaningful praise is powerful. A word of warning though, hollow or forced praise will be easily detected and will result in a negative outcome.

* Purpose: When praising team members, the leader should be specific, that is, not just ‘great work this week’, but link their success to the bigger picture result and what their efforts mean to the customer, the team or the organisation. Providing this type of purpose is a proven technique in driving individual motivation.

* Positive: Keep the entire conversation positive. These powerfully positive messages can easily be undone by a glib comment at the end of a conversation which can easily de-rail the message being provide. A short example is “Great work John, the way you handled that difficult customer was perfect. Great to see you didn’t repeat the same thing you did last week!”

deBa is designed to enable every conversation to be appropriately tagged as either Coaching, Supporting or Recognition.

This feature is designed to help the individual leader ensure they are remaining balanced in the type of conversations they are having with their team members.

The leader’s dashboard enables a quick snapshot over time as to the types of conversations being conducted which then enables adjustment and re-focus if required. The leader’s leader can also use this dashboard to help guide their coaching efforts.

In a healthy relationship between a leader and their team, all three types of conversations would occur in approximately equal amounts.

It is not valid to only conduct one type of conversation. All three are required in order to build and sustain a culture centered on continuous improvement.

Our differing personality types mean that not all categories of conversations are as easy to have between all people.

Some domineering leaders will be more aligned and motivated to conduct only coaching style conversations. Whilst this is not always a negative thing in the short term, over time to get the best out of individuals, supporting and recognition style conversations need to be included.

On the flip side, some leaders will be very uncomfortable conducting any type of conversation that is not a ‘Good Job’ recognition conversation. They justify this to themselves by saying that their team member does a great job all the time and that there is never anything that can be coached or improved.

Unfortunately, this approach means the team members miss opportunities to improve and develop. To assist with this deBa’s dashboard reporting feature enables leaders to quickly identify trends and patterns with their communication style and helps them to focus in on specific techniques that can be improved.

Good leadership is a learned skill that improves with time, effort and deliberate practice.

As daunting as the concept sounds, regular communication starts with a single chat. Repeated over and over, with the right attitude applied, the conversations will improve until your team and organisation are seamlessly operating within a culture of continuous improvement backboned by regular and transparent communication and leadership.