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Published on December 14, 2020

10 Leadership Communication Skills Every Effective Leader Has

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10 Leadership Communication Skills Every Effective Leader Has

If there’s one thing common among all the great leaders throughout history, it’s their skill to interact with others openly and smoothly.

Whether at battlefields of old or today’s boardroom meetings among chief executives, the skill of communication is still a revered one. A leader is someone who is expected to lead the team towards a greater goal. And effective communication skill is the only way to keep the team organized, engaged, and motivated to reach that goal.

So, if you are wondering what kind of leadership communication skills are necessary to become a great leader, then you’re at the right place. Throughout this article, I’ll discuss the essential leadership communication skills and how to master them.

Leadership Communication: What’s So Special?

To completely understand what leadership communication skills entail, we have to first differentiate between normal communication and leadership communication.

Keeping a team together and guiding it towards success is one of the primary challenges you’ll face as a leader. And to accomplish this, you have to be eloquent in expressing the goals to your team members as well as keeping them encouraged and motivated to reach the specific end.

Being a guide, motivator, and leader, all three things together is not possible with just conventional skills. For this, you need to go beyond the ordinary and have to become intuitive and insightful while corresponding to every individual who comes your way.

The following business and professional communication principles and skills for leadership will not only help you to master communication with the others in your life but also improve your chances to succeed as a leader.

10 Communication Skills That Make a Leader

A pioneer must have many talents to direct the people accurately and effectively. And when it comes to communication, here is a list of some know-how you need to master to become a great leader.

1. The Open Door Policy: But Make It More Real

A leader needs to keep the door always open for better and improved communication. The open-door policy is not something that should only apply to the physical office door but rather to the relationship between the leader and the teams as well.

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Whether you are the CEO of a multinational organization or entrepreneur at your own startup, the relationship you have with the staff members determine the quality of your leadership correspondence. So, how to master this effective communication leadership skill?

The best way to create an encouraging environment where every team member feels comfortable enough to express their opinions is to let your attitude reflect it. So many times we have heard “this is a safe place” only to later suffer the consequences of expressing our opinions. So, ensure that the people in your organization understand that your leadership attitude is accepting and that they can freely express their opinions for the betterment of the organization without any negative consequences.

2. What Drives the Man: Understanding Unique Motivational Cues

Everyone has different things that encourage them. As a leader, understanding these different cues and implementing them within your communication style is going to yield a better result than any other.

Each individual is different and one kind of measure is not going to be enough to keep everyone engaged in the project. To keep everyone engaged similarly, you have to ensure that they see some motivational value within the purpose of the project that is unique to their personal journey.

But how are you going to do it?

Well, for starters, you can begin with getting to know the people within your organization and what drives them. In such a scenario, showing empathy and caring for their personal lives can go a long way. For big enterprise leaders who have many team members, getting to know each individual is hard. But giving everyone the chance to grow and improve upon their lifestyle is always a great motivator to start with.

3. Adapting to Styles: Individuals and How They Communicate

As a leader, you have to interact with many different people, each belonging to a different background. And to effectively relate with all of them, you need to adapt to diverse manners of communication.

While some are more open and honest in their correspondence style, some are more reserved. Depending on the unique characteristics, your communication style needs to change. Remember that at the end of the day, your aim is to reach a mutual understanding with the person you are interacting with.

Adapting to different communication styles seems daunting at first, but it is easy. Simply beginning with a basic knowledge of your team members will be enough. Knowing what motivates and drives them in their life and career will be one of the best ways of tailoring your correspondence style to every individual.

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But why master this effective leadership communication skill? Well, mainly because it has myriads of positive impact on the leadership style. Whether it is the vital listening prowess you are trying to master or making the things you say more impactful, tailoring your communication style to the individuals will help you to become the ultimate pioneer in your field.

4. The Secret Benefits of Asking Open Questions

The right questions and their answers can often lead you to an unexpected but very helpful conclusion that will boost the efforts of the team. And to take advantage of this, you must know how to ask open-ended questions.

An essential part of the communication process for someone in a leadership position, the open questions are generally directed at your team members. These questions require the answerer to put some thought and insight behind their answers and provide a unique perspective about the situation they are dealing with.

With the right kind of open questions, you would be able to judge the team member’s involvement with the project as well as how much insight they have about it. So, start asking such open questions today, and if possible, incorporate them within a corporate training system and deploy it to gather the information necessary. Having these questions as training modules can really help to foster a better work environment in your organization.[1]

5. Understanding the Abstract Messages

Besides understanding the individual style of correspondence and their diverse motivational cues, an impactful leader must understand the hidden non-verbal cues that make up a big portion of modern-day communication.

Leadership communication is an art that is not always concrete. As a leader, you’ll encounter many moments when you’ll have to decipher the true meaning of something that was just said or find the perfect way to approach someone based on their demeanor. Comprehending the non-verbal cues will enable you to become an improved and insightful leader and help you expand your network of friends and allies in your industry.

6. Great Leaders Always Need Feedback

A big part of leadership and communication is listening to the opinions and feedback from people around you and implementing the more valuable feedback within your actions.

The listening part requires a stout attitude because more often than not, criticism is not kind. However, being able to understand and strain out the valuable insight and let the other useless noise wash away is crucial to improve not just your actions as a leader but also the chances of the overall team succeeding in their task.[2]

To get valuable feedback from your team members, establish an open and accepting environment for expressing opinions. This way, the team members can express their real thoughts and opinions and help you to become an effective and all-around leader.

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7. Make the Most of Meetings

Meetings are one of the most valuable assets for a larger team to work together. The act of gathering around and working together helps the leaders and teams to come to a mutual understanding of matters and resolve conflicts effectively.

However, the practice of corporate meetings can only become more effective if you know how to make the most of the meeting management and communication process in leadership. Rather than letting the meeting time waste away behind pointless debates and trivial issues, you need to steer the meeting in the right direction.

But how to do that?

Well, to ensure that your meeting efforts go well, you need to begin with a strictly planned agenda and schedule a time for each topic to be discussed. Meeting communication is all about being succinct and to the point. So, use this opportunity to nail down details and ask closed questions that have brief answers. Remember that efficient and clear conversation during meetings can help to clear workplace conflicts and boost your chances of success.

8. Understanding the Importance of Delegation

The number of responsibilities a leader has is innumerable. You’ll face multiple challenges and tasks. And to ensure they are all completed perfectly, you have to delegate the right tasks to the right people.

A survey by Strategic Thinking reveals that almost 96% of individuals in leadership positions lack the time for proper strategic planning because other tasks take up their time.[3] And that is why task delegation makes up a big part of leadership communication because you not only have to sort the tasks out to others but also explain clearly what needs to be done.

Being vague in your description will only confuse the team members. This is why once you have decided on a certain team member for a certain task based on your knowledge of the team, ensure that you’ve spelled out what the task requires. Explaining the process and expected end goal of the specific task clearly will help the employee to finish the task better.

9. The Secret to Effective Communication: Transparency & Continuity

Transparency and honesty in communication are essential, and as a leader, you need to imbibe both of these skills within your leadership communication style.

Whether your team is going through a rough patch or performing well, through a transparent and continuous communication channel you can let them know about their performance and help them to optimize their performance even better. This kind of frank environment will make problem-solving easier, streamline the work process, and ultimately boost the performance of the team.

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To keep up a continuous and honest correspondence with the teams, you can proceed with monthly assemblies or team meetings where important points of information are discussed and the teams are briefed on their performance. Additionally, you can also send survey forms to team members with open-ended questions where they can express their answers clearly and thoughtfully.

10. Acknowledgments for a Job Well Done

If feedback is important for you to lead well, acknowledgment is important for your teams to perform well.

A lack of acknowledgment from the leader is something that makes the team members feel demotivated and confused whether their tasks are being done properly or not. Studies show that acknowledging the team members and commending them on something they did right motivates them and improves their speed and agility in performing tasks.[4]

So, be open and acknowledge the tasks that are done well by the team members. A small act of recognition from you as a leader will go a long way to keep the team members motivated to do even better.

Leadership Communication: The Ultimate Path to Leadership Success

And there you have it, the ten essential leadership communication skills a leader should have. Being a leader is a daunting task. But with honest and open communication, you can foster a work culture that will help you achieve your goals and assist you and your team to reach the peak of your career!

However, creating an open communication environment is not a speedy process. But if you invest enough time and energy into it, you’ll be able to reap the best possible rewards from such an honest communicative approach.

More Articles About Leadership Communication

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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Pratip Biswas

Pratip is an entrepreneur who loves to share his experience in being productive and power creativity in work and life.

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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Are You Addicted to Productivity?

“It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

“Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

“The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

This is my mantra:

I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

Addiction to Productivity is Real

Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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“A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

“It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

“A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

“There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

“For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

  • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
  • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
  • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
  • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
  • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
  • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
  • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

1. Set Limits

Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

2. Create a Not-to-Do List

Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

3. Be Vulnerable

By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

5. Don’t Be a Copycat

Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

6. Say Yes to Less

Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

“In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

“That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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  • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
  • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
  • Establish realistic goals.
  • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
  • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
  • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

8. Simplify

Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

9. Learn How to Relax

“Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

“But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

“And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

  • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
  • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
  • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
  • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
  • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
  • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
  • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
  • Visit a massage therapist.
  • Just breathe.

“Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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