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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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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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