8 essential leadership communication skills

About the author : Valerie Dansereau

One of the most common reasons people give for leaving a company is ineffective leadership. Communication skills are extremely important for effective leadership and this includes both written and verbal skills. Depending on the size of the organization, leaders may need to communicate with employees, staff in other departments, senior management, vendors and customers. Here are 8 essential leadership communication skills.


In a leadership role, you may find yourself interacting with many different types of people, and you’ll need the ability to adapt your communication style to different personality types and different situations. The words you choose and the way you communicate may need to change based on who you’re communicating with


People value leaders who are honest and open. When you’re authentic, you express yourself as you are, revealing your own personality rather than pretending to be what others want you to be. Telling stories or anecdotes is a good way to show people you’re human. Authentic leaders inspire loyalty and trust while employees are likely to distrust inauthentic leaders.


When staff feels like they don’t know what’s going on, it reduces trust and loyalty. Transparency is a good way to help break down the sense that there’s a communication barrier. When leaders speak openly about what’s ahead for the company and what challenges and opportunities may be ahead for the team, it helps team members feel connected and willing to voice their thoughts and concerns.


Communicating with clarity can prevent misunderstandings such as confusion over who’s responsible for what or when tasks are expected to be completed. The ability to communicate with clarity is especially helpful in training staff in new skills. A good way to communicate with clarity is by working to simplify your message and asking others If they need you to clarify something you have communicated to them.


Effective leaders are trustworthy and one way to earn the trust of those around you is by being empathetic to what others are saying. Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and striving to see things from their perspective. When you’re able to communicate empathy toward others, they feel heard and appreciated.

Active Listening

One of the most important communication skills to have is the ability to listen well. Active listening is a skill in which you’re completely engaged in a conversation, taking notes, nodding where appropriate and asking questions if anything needs better clarity. Use open ended questions such as “Tell me more” or “Could you explain what you mean by that?”

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Leaders need the ability to give feedback to others. This includes letting employees know if their performance isn’t up to standard as well as letting staff know when they’ve exceeded expectations. Besides being able to give both positive and negative feedback, you need to be able to ask others for feedback and act on what you’re told.

Non-verbal Communication Skills

When people think of communication skills, they often think of the things people express verbally and how they express themselves. Communication skills go beyond words. Leaders need to be aware of nonverbal communication skills in themselves and others. Posture, tone of voice and facial expression all send out clues that may or may not agree with the words being said.

As a leader, you need to pay attention to what signals you may be sending out and what underlying message others may be communicating. Stand or sit up straight to help project confidence. Make eye contact and offer a genuine smile to communicate interest and attentiveness. Notice when others are scowling or avoiding eye contact.

Continue to work on these 8 essential leadership communication skills to continue to improve your leadership abilities. Reach out to Peaceful Leaders Academy for leadership skills training.

About the author : Valerie Dansereau