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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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
- 4 Leadership Tips for Outstanding Communication
- How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com
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