Many qualities go into becoming a good leader, such as adaptability and emotional intelligence, to name a few. But one of the most important is an ability to communicate effectively and build trust. Good leadership communication should focus on connecting with your team and improving relationships with employees. As a leader, you should understand your team — their needs, concerns, and even working styles. This way, you can truly determine how you can build trust and guide them –– and by extension the company ––to success.
If you’re a leader looking to improve your communication, here are five skills to develop:
1.) Active listening
This is one way of showing your employees that you care about them. Communication is a two-way process, so beyond knowing the right thing to say at the right time, you should also learn to recognize when you need to listen. Set aside time to ask for team members' ideas, feedback, and concerns. Actively engage in the conversation as well, by asking questions and seeking clarification.
Body language is also important here, so be sure to maintain eye contact and nod your head once in a while to encourage others to continue sharing; many employees are hesitant to go too far when speaking to company superiors. Active listening shows your employees that you value what they have to say.
For the whole team to strive toward a certain goal, objectives need to be clearly identified. People also need to know why they need to reach a given goal, and how they can do so. The less transparent a leader is in these regards, the less motivated employees become, since they don’t know what they’re working toward.
Beyond the need to motivate, it's also important to note that transparency builds trust, in that it leads employees to expect that you'll give them whatever information is needed to move forward. Because of this, you should openly give regular updates on the company regarding goals, opportunities, progress, and any relevant challenges.
3.) Conflict management
There are bound to be some misunderstandings or disagreements from time to time — and as a leader, you may have to step in. Conflict management is one of the organizational leadership skills that many study en route to taking senior roles in business, and it incorporates several strategies. These include evidence-based and ethical decision making. Knowledge in areas like group dynamics and human resource management can also help you to improve your conflict management.
Additional tips to remember are to address conflicts immediately and, again, to utilize active listening. Good conflict management is important in that it reduces interpersonal issues, improves employee performance, and produces better working results for the company.
Empathy is the ability to see things from another person’s point of view, which we've alluded to in some of the previous points. As a leader, you’ll need to consistently acknowledge and understand employees' feelings and experiences in relation to their work performance –– even if it means having a tough conversation. This enables you to understand their challenges and focus on their strengths, so you can assign them tasks that fit their skill set.
This saves everyone time and energy while also producing significant results. Being empathetic also makes employees feel seen, which improves their satisfaction and productivity.
5.) Genuine complimenting
Leadership is about motivating employees, and praising them for their work or behavior is generally more effective reinforcement than telling them off. Compliments make people feel like their efforts are recognized, which in turn increases productivity. When giving compliments, remember to make them specific — so, instead of saying “You passed a great proposal,” discuss what made it a great proposal (such as if it made a difficult idea easy to understand).
Compliments given in front of other people can mean even more since you’re positively boosting the image of the employee in question. This also gives them a good reputation to live up to, which makes them want to continue doing well.
Ultimately, being a good leader is a complex challenge involving a lot of different efforts and considerations. Effective communication goes a very long way though, and these points can help.
Specially written for GerrySandusky.com
By: Rayssa Joeana