When you are a business leader, the importance of good communication between you and your staff cannot be emphasized enough. Without quality communication, everyone tends to suffer. Employees might feel undervalued or ignored, which can affect daily productivity and the company’s bottom line. To help you hone your communication skills, review some of the essentials of leadership communication.
Also known as active listening, it is virtually impossible to be a good communicator without it. If you are always distracted by other work commitments when team members are talking to you, how do you think they will feel? Focusing on listening to what they say ensures team members do not feel dismissed or ignored. Instead, they will appreciate that you take time to hear them and genuinely want to help. To assist your active listening efforts, consider doing the following:
- Silencing your phone and other devices
- Putting up an away message on your email and other communication channels, such as Slack
- Focusing on maintaining eye contact
- Avoiding body language that can make you seem disinterested, such as crossing your arms and legs
- Scheduling blocks of time during the week when your office door is “open” and team members can come talk to you about concerns or problems
- Asking open-ended questions that spark conversations and requesting clarification whenever it is necessary
- Refraining from interrupting or making judgmental comments
- Providing solutions before hearing the entire problem/suggestion/proposal
- Offering encouragement when it is warranted
- Addressing feedback
Vague language and missing information are hardly hallmarks of transparency. If team members constantly wonder what is going on, they might not perform to the best of their abilities. The risk of assignment and project errors subsequently increases, which can result in productivity slowdowns and revenue losses. Since transparency is one of the essentials of leadership communication, aim to be as transparent as you can, whenever you can. Ensure all assignments are detailed and let team members know they can ask questions at any time. Explain any changes to the company as they come and tell employees you will provide more information when you can.
For example, say your company is being acquired by a larger company and ⅓ of the clients intend to leave. Depending on the size of the team, layoffs might be necessary. Inform employees about this immediately and let them know about severance package options. State that you wanted to inform them of this unfortunate change because it allows them to look elsewhere for work. You can also say that you will be happy to provide references and welcome any feedback about the transition.
Another essential of leadership communication is consistency. If you are constantly “changing the rules” or never follow the rules you create, it is difficult for team members to maintain respectful attitudes. Consistency should include keeping up a professional demeanor, never playing favorites, following up on promises and announcements, and maintaining a good work ethic. Staying organized and providing kind reminders about work orders are also helpful.
If you provide a good example and stick with it, it is likely your team will follow suit. The same cannot be said of inconsistency, as it sends a message to your team that the work does not matter and neither does their attitude about the workplace.
Staying consistent does not mean you have to forgo adaptability. Being able to make changes in light of different assignments and projects demonstrates adaptability, though you can still welcome feedback.
To help you learn more about the essentials of leadership communication as well as conflict resolution, please contact Peaceful Leaders Academy today!