Leadership isn’t just about a person’s title. It’s more a combination of skills and a way of being. Communication is one of the most important leadership skills and falling short in interpersonal skills can impact the productivity and morale of your team. Those in leadership roles may assume they’re effectively communicating all day every day, but there are a few things that people often get wrong about interpersonal skills leadership.
Failure to Communicate
Your team relies on you to communicate what’s going on in the organization and why it matters. Failure to communicate may mean that you’re not keeping your team informed of upcoming changes they should expect and it may also mean that you’re not providing clear instructions on projects or tasks.
Interpersonal skills leadership depends on regular communication. This may include a regularly scheduled team meeting, scheduled one-on-one meetings or written communication with updates. Inconsistency can create confusion, and it may lead to decreased motivation and a decreased sense of unity within the team. Without consistent communication, your staff may feel they can’t count on you for guidance and direction.
Bombarding your team with a lot of information at once may not be as effective as you might think. While it’s important to keep staff members informed, trying to communicate too much in one meeting or one email can make it hard for others to absorb it all and can cause people to tune you out. Provide communication that’s relevant to your team and stays on topic rather than rambling.
Lack of Clarity
Leaders need the ability to communicate clearly both verbally and in writing. If your communication is vague or difficult to understand, you may not be communicating as well as you think. Avoid using lingo or technical jargon. When communicating with others, use language that’s clear and easy to understand.
Lack of Self-Awareness
As a leader, you need to be aware of your own demeanor and behaviors and how they may be affecting others. Work on being aware of the image you’re projecting. Are you behaving in a way that communicates interest in others or are you being dismissive when you’re approached? Are you projecting a positive attitude and using humor when you can or are you complaining or otherwise projecting negativity? Are you quick to respond with anger and impatience? Be aware if others may see you as someone who flies off the handle quickly or belittles the concerns of your staff. Pay attention to anything you may be doing that’s affecting mood or attitude in a negative way.
Lack of Awareness of Others
Awareness of others is a vital part of interpersonal skills leadership. This involves good listening skills and empathy for the concerns of others. It also involves awareness of signals that others are sending even when they aren’t saying anything. You may not be picking up on everything you should if you don’t pay attention to forms of nonverbal communication such as body language and facial expressions. Lack of awareness of others means you might not even realize it if you have annoyed someone. Leaders should be able to “read the room”, picking up on moods of individuals or the overall morale of the group.
Not Remaining Teachable
Ineffective leaders may assume that they have the communication skills needed to be in a leadership role, but the most effective leaders recognize that new challenges continually present themselves and that there’s always more to learn. Leaders that are open to taking advantage of opportunities to learn new leadership skills are continually growing and evolving in interpersonal skills leadership.
Reach out to Peaceful Leaders Academy to learn more about improving interpersonal leadership skills.