Communication skills are a must for effective leadership. Not everyone is born with great skills in communicating, but that doesn’t mean these skills can’t be learned. Leaders with bad communication skills that recognize they need to work on these skills can still end up improving these skills and becoming great leaders. Those that don’t realize they are weak in this area fall short in their roles as leaders. There are several common mistakes that ineffective leaders make that are signs that more work is needed in communication skills.
Failure to Pay Attention to What Others Are Saying
Many people think of leaders as people who spend a lot of time talking, running meetings, giving directions to others, negotiating with vendors, etc. While good oral communication skills are beneficial for people in leadership roles, it’s also important to listen to what others are saying.
Failure to pay attention to what others are saying is a clear sign of leaders with bad communication skills. Those who do this tend to talk more than they listen and interrupt others who are trying to get a point across. This lets others know that their input isn’t valued and that decisions are being made without considering different sides of a problem.
Failure to Give Clear Directions
Ineffective leaders may fail to give clear directions to staff who work for them. This can lead to confusion and conflict among coworkers when there are misunderstandings about who’s expected to do what. Staff may not have a chance to deliver projects that are completed correctly when they don’t actually understand what needs to be done.
Effective leaders need to communicate with clarity. People can’t read minds and they shouldn’t be expected to guess what’s the most important thing they need to do next. Good leaders need to clearly understand what needs to be done and the best way it can be accomplished and at the same time be sure others understand expectations.
Failure to Communicate Appreciation
Most people want to do a good job and also want to know that their contribution makes a difference. Employees who rarely or never receive appreciation for their ideas or for work that’s done well may lose interest in doing their best. Failure to communicate appreciation is a clear sign of poor communication skills. Effective leaders need to encourage initiative and innovation and let staff know their contributions are noticed and appreciated.
Lack of Empathy
When a staff member approaches a leader with a concern, they need to know they’re being heard. Whether the problem is a conflict with a teammate, frustration over lack of sufficient resources or problems outside work that are causing challenges, they need feedback that their concerns matter. Leaders who fail to communicate empathy when approached with problems diminish the amount of trust and respect they get from others.
Lack of Transparency
Leaders with bad communication skills may fail to keep team members informed of things that are going on in the organization. When there’s a lack of transparency, the end result is employees may feel less loyal to the company since they’re not told when things may be about to change or why certain deliverables are important.
Effective leaders communicate honestly, openly and with authenticity while offering important insight. They share the company’s vision and motivate others to be more engaged.
No one uses perfect communication skills all the time, and even great communicators can continue to learn from different people and different experiences. The best leaders recognize that there’s always room for improvement in communication skills, and they look for opportunities to learn new skills and to practice the skills they already have.
Reach out to Peaceful Leaders Academy to learn about training and coaching options for leaders.