Leadership Communication Skills – What Are You Missing?
People often assume that communication is easy because we do it every day. However, effective leadership communication is more than just speaking or writing. It involves understanding the needs of your audience and tailoring your message accordingly. This can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to communicate with people from different backgrounds or levels of experience.
Strong communication skills are important for any business leader. After all, leaders need to communicate their vision to their team and inspire them to achieve common goals. Unfortunately, not all leaders have these skills. This can be detrimental to businesses, as poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and even conflict. It can also lead to a lack of productivity and missed opportunities.
This is why communication training is critical. Businesses can significantly improve their performance by providing leaders with the tools they need to communicate effectively.
Some benefits of communication skills training for leaders include:
- Being able to articulate your vision more clearly
- Learning how to listen to others
- Building trust and credibility
- Motivating and inspiring employees
- Handling difficult conversations and resolving conflict
Through communication skills training, leaders can learn how to express themselves better and connect with their teams. This can lead to a more positive work environment and increased productivity.
Who can benefit from leadership communication skills training?
- Leaders who run a team, regardless of size
- Leaders who interact with clients, colleagues or business partners
- Leaders who speak publically or give presentations
- Small business owners
Some people may be hesitant to invest in communication training because they think it’s unnecessary or they don’t think they need it. However, even the most experienced leaders can benefit from learning new communication techniques and with the business landscape constantly changing, what worked in the past may not work now.
If you want to be an effective leader, it’s important to be open to learning new skills. Communication skills training can help you become a better communicator and a more effective leader. Some of the skills you can learn in a training session include:
- How to manage difficult conversations
- Public speaking and presentation skills
- Writing effectively (for emails, memos, proposals, etc.)
- Active listening skills
- Body language and nonverbal communication
- Conflict resolution skills
The benefits of communication skills training are not just limited to leaders. In fact, employees at all levels can benefit from this type of training, because strong communication skills are essential for anyone who wants to be successful in the business world.
Some common habits that can lead to ineffective communication include:
- Interrupting others when they are speaking
- Not listening to understand, but rather waiting to speak
- Making assumptions about what others know or think
- Using jargon or technical language that others may not understand
- Getting defensive or argumentative when receiving feedback
- Failing to give people the proper context for information
All of these habits can be addressed and corrected through communication skills training. Leaders and employees can build better relationships, increase productivity, and avoid misunderstandings when they learn to communicate effectively.
What makes good leadership communication?
Scott Kelly is an American astronaut who has been into space four times during his long career with NASA. He spent 340 days on the International Space Station with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, someone who Kelly admits he didn’t always get along with. Speaking to the Harvard Business Review, Kelly said, “Even when you are not the greatest of friends, you could work together for something you both believe in, feel strongly about and has mutual benefits” – a good example of finding common ground and working professionally together in solidarity.
This ability to find common ground and maintain positive relationships is a key leadership communication skill. It’s not just about being the loudest voice in the room or having the best ideas but also about being able to listen, empathize and understand others’ perspectives. It’s about compromise and finding ways to work together for the greater good.
Here are some other areas which can help with improving your leadership communication skills:
Giving clear instructions and expectations
Employees need to know what is expected of them to be successful. When leaders are unclear, it can lead to confusion and frustration. Good leadership communication in this area would involve avoiding jargon or technical language that employees may not understand. They should also give employees the proper context for why certain tasks must be completed.
Feedback helps employees learn from their mistakes and improve their performance. It also allows leaders to recognise when employees are doing a good job. However, giving feedback is not always easy. Finding the right balance between positive and negative feedback can be difficult. Leaders also need to be careful that they don’t come across as being critical or judgmental. Through communication skills training, leaders can learn how to give feedback effectively, so they find the right balance and avoid being too negative.
The words leaders use and the way they say them can have a big impact on their employees. The tone of voice can convey interest, annoyance, or even frustration. The choice of words can also affect how employees react to what is being said. For example, if a leader asks an employee, “What went wrong?” after a project fails, the employee may feel defensive and be less likely to share information. However, if the leader asks, “What can we do differently next time?” the employee may be more open to sharing ideas.
Managing difficult conversations
These conversations are likely to be emotionally charged or could lead to conflict. Examples of difficult conversations include performance reviews, salary negotiations, and dealing with employee discipline issues.
Difficult conversations can be challenging for leaders. They may not know how to handle the emotions involved. They may also worry about saying something that could make the situation worse. Communication skills training can help leaders learn how to manage difficult conversations by staying calm, listening carefully, and finding common ground.
Finally, leaders need to be able to build strong relationships with their employees. These relationships are important for trust, respect, and collaboration. Strong relationships can also lead to better communication. Leaders can build strong relationships by showing interest in their employees’ lives and work. They should also be open to feedback and willing to compromise when necessary.
6 reasons effective communication is important for leaders
1. It helps create clarity.
When leaders clearly communicate, employees understand what is expected of them. This can lead to fewer mistakes and more efficiency in the workplace. Good communication from leaders can also help build trust among employees.
2. It helps manage difficult conversations.
Difficult conversations can be challenging for leaders. They may not know how to handle the emotions involved. They may also worry about saying something that could make the situation worse. Communication skills training can help leaders learn how to stay calm, listen carefully, and find common ground.
3. It allows them to show empathy and understanding.
When leaders take the time to listen to their employees and understand their concerns, it can build trust and respect. Employees are more likely to feel valued and appreciated when they feel like their leader understands them.
4. It can help build employee buy-in.
If employees feel like they are a part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to be invested in the outcome. Good communication from leaders can help ensure that employees feel respected and involved in the company’s decisions.
5. It helps develop a positive culture in the workplace.
When leaders communicate well, it sets a tone of mutual respect and collaboration. This can help create a positive culture in the workplace where employees feel empowered to do their best work.
6. It can help leaders be more strategic
Strategic planning is an important part of a leader’s job. But it’s not enough to have a good plan – leaders also need to be able to communicate their vision and goals to their employees. Good communication can help ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Can we help you with your leadership communication skills training?
From one-to-one executive coaching to masterclasses and larger group sessions, we have a course which is just right for you or your team. Get in touch with us today to discover our suite of options.
You can also watch or listen to your podcast below, where the CEO of Body Talk, Richard Newman, talks to Richie Contartesi about how you can transform your leadership.
The LIFT Podcast – How To Transform Your Leadership from Body Talk on Vimeo.