There are many characteristics that contribute to effective leadership, but one of the most important ones is communication. The role of communication in leadership involves both communicating clearly to others and understanding what others are trying to communicate to you.
Leaders interact with multiple people on a daily basis. Employees may look to leaders for motivation while leaders may have to make senior management aware of the needs and concerns of their team. Without good communication skills, effective leadership is impossible.
Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
The ability to capture and keep interest and attention can earn you the respect of your staff and higher ups. This requires skills in both verbal and nonverbal communication. There are many aspects of good verbal communication skills such as:
- Thinking before you speak
- Speaking with confidence and clarity
- Controlling your emotions so that you appear calm and in control even when you’re feeling anxious
- Offering encouragement to others
- Delegating tasks if needed
You’ll show interest and engagement when others are speaking to you by practicing active listening. This includes asking questions, taking notes and repeating back to others what you believe they’ve tried to communicate. Avoid interrupting others when they’re speaking to you.
Good nonverbal communication skills involve awareness of the body language and facial expressions of others. The gestures and expressions of others may be sending you subtle clues about how others are really feeling, and you’ll want to acknowledge their feelings or concerns. You should also maintain awareness of the body language you’re projecting to others.
Adapting to Whatever is Needed
There are many different scenarios that you may have to deal with in the workplace, and you’ll need the ability to adapt to whatever is needed. If you have to lead a meeting or presentation, you’ll need the ability to speak clearly and project your voice. You may need to be able to answer questions from others.
Leadership sometimes involves motivating and inspiring others. You may need to communicate to your team the mission and goals of the company. The ability to articulate what you’re all aiming for and why ensures that everyone is focused on the same things. Project enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Work on team-building exercises and encourage collaboration.
The Role of Leadership Communication in Difficult Situations
The role of communication in leadership also comes into play when there is a conflict between coworkers or any explosive situation. Managing conflict requires the ability to diffuse situations where emotions are rising and tension is building. You may need to act as a mediator and help others to work through their differences while brainstorming solutions.
Communication comes into play when you need to give feedback to others. Delivering feedback that’s less than positive requires the ability to communicate clearly and firmly without demotivating an employee.
There may be also times that you’re on the receiving end of critical feedback. If that happens, you need the ability to receive criticism without getting defensive.
Communication Skills Can Be Learned and Improved
It would be great if communication skills always came naturally and without effort, but that’s not always the case. Good leaders recognize that there’s always more to learn when it comes to leadership skills. The vital role of communication in leadership means those in leadership positions should actively seek out opportunities to learn and practice communication skills.
Communication skills are taught using a variety of approaches, both in person and online. Whenever new skills are learned, look for opportunities to practice them on the job and through role-playing exercises with peers.
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