If you were recently appointed to a leadership role in your job, you should feel proud about taking the next step in your career. One of the hallmarks of being an effective leader is communication, as it garners respect, improves productivity, and contributes to a more harmonious work environment. To help you communicate with your staff, take a minute to review what good communication skills as a leader involves.
Successful leaders are clear, concise communicators. They never leave out essential details or provide vague instructions that confuse their employees. For example, say you need to send an email about an upcoming volunteer project your company is participating in. Writing “Volunteer Day starts at 8:30 on Saturday at Sam’s Eatery” is unclear if there is more than one eatery with this name in town. And while most people will assume you mean 8:30am, it is possible for some to think you mean 8:30 at night.
A clear email about the volunteer day could read something like this, “Hey all, I’m excited to see you this Saturday at 8:30am at Sam’s Eatery on 101 Locust Street. Please wear comfortable clothing, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. If you cannot make the date for any reason, let me know. We have alternate dates available the following three Saturdays.”
Good communication skills as a leader are not just about using your words effectively. It’s also about truly listening to what your team, fellow managers, suppliers, affiliates, and clients have to say. Active listening requires blocking out assorted distractions, such as a neighboring office playing music or the running to-do list in your brain, and focusing on what the person in front of you is saying. If it helps, close your office door and put your smartphone on mute. By engaging in active listening, you’ll receive feedback, hear assorted concerns and opinions, and develop better relationships with everyone you work with. Maintaining an open mind is also beneficial to active listening, as it keeps you receptive to new ideas that can increase your company’s brand awareness, among other advantages.
A cheerful disposition helps you remain approachable to your team, as does an optimistic attitude. You want to make it clear that you are there to help, not disparage. Perhaps a staff member has a fantastic idea for an upcoming marketing campaign, or a fellow manager wants to implement a rewards program that encourages employee retention. Whatever else, you want to make employees feel like they are on the journey with you instead of on the outside. Optimism as a team leader is arguably synonymous with inclusion for these reasons.
Ability to Ask Questions That Encourage Conversation
Effective communication as a team leader is also about asking open-ended questions that encourage healthy conversations and brainstorming sessions. “Can you define that concept in more detail for me?,” “Tell me more!”, “Explain what you mean by that,” and similar questions keep the communication lines open and avoid clarity issues that can confuse everyone in the future. More thoughtful and detailed responses boost productivity, because your staff gets on the same page faster and might be able to generate even more ideas.
Good communication skills as a leader is not something that occurs overnight. It takes time, commitment, and practice, but is well worth the effort. You’ll feel great about your leadership role, if not proud at how productive your team is because everyone is communicating clearly and effectively.
For more information about leadership skills and conflict resolution certifications, contact Peaceful Leaders Academy today!