When you’re in a leadership role, the bulk of your job involves communicating with others. This may include many different people such as employees, others in leadership, vendors, or customers. When you’re committed to being an effective leader, you also need to be committed to being a good communicator which allows you to inspire, motivate, instruct and persuade others. What does it take to be a good communicator in leadership roles?
Be Visible and Available
Being a good communicator in leadership requires being available to listen to the concerns of others. It’s important for your employees to know their concerns matter to you, that you’re available to answer questions and that you want to hear what’s on their minds. It’s also important to be visible and available to customers that need to speak to a leader and to others in leadership roles including senior management. Be ready to adapt your communication based on who you’re talking to.
Good communication doesn’t mean just saying what’s on your mind or delivering information to others. Equally important is the ability to listen and actually hear what others are saying, whether it’s information being passed on from senior management, discussions in meetings with peers, or one-on-one conversations with employees. Practicing active listening skills lets others know that they’re being heard. When someone else is speaking, make eye contact, nod where appropriate to communicate that you’re fully present and hearing what’s being said, and ask questions if anything needs clarification.
Thinking through what needs to be said is a valuable skill to have whether you’re having a difficult conversation with a staff member, putting on a presentation, leading a department meeting, or requesting additional resources from top executives. Don’t assume you’ll remember to say what’s most important. Gather information ahead of time and be clear about what needs to be communicated to others. Think before you speak and before you react to what others say.
Be Open and Honest
Share information with your staff as soon as you can and whenever possible, try not to keep important details from them, and be authentic. The more open and honest you are, the more you earn the trust of the people around you. Give clear feedback to your team so that everyone clearly understands what’s expected of them. Encourage others to give you feedback as well to help you recognize things that may need to change.
Emotional intelligence is an important trait for anyone who aims to be a good communicator in leadership. This means you’re in touch with your own emotions and you have the ability to manage them, particularly when confronted with stressful situations. It also means you can perceive what others are feeling, particularly when their words don’t match their body language or facial expressions. Effective leaders are empathetic toward others and sensitive toward their feelings. Offer encouragement and appreciation whenever you can.
The most effective leaders recognize that they have both strengths and weaknesses and that there’s always room for improvement. Be open to opportunities to learn new skills or to practice and strengthen skills you already have. Options for improving communications skills are everywhere, from webinars to books to coaching to videos. Working with people who have expertise in communication can help you recognize what you need to work on and where you can get started. Whether you’ve been in a leadership role for many years or you’re new to leadership, there’s always room for improvement.
Get in touch with Peaceful Leaders Academy to learn about opportunities to improve leadership skills.