Effective communication is a crucial aspect in leadership. Leaders can achieve personal and professional success through purposeful leadership communication.
In this article, I will talk share with you what leadership communication is, what are the barriers to effective communication and 7 principles on how to improve leadership communication skills. 7th principle is crucial so read on until the end of the article to find out why.
It’s essential that leaders and their teams learn and develop leadership communication skills. This will help them overcome obstacles and challenges, reach their goals and objectives, and enable the entire organization to succeed and grow. To do that, we will need to establish why communication and leadership work hand in hand.
Why is communication important in leadership?
Communication is vital for leaders as it enables them to share their knowledge and experience with their teams. For you to begin interacting with your teams more efficiently, you need to understand the core principle of communication: two-way process of sharing and receiving information. While this process seems trivial, it’s often overlooked and therefore fails before it even begins.
How do leaders communicate with employees? Effective leaders understand that this process can only succeed if they and their team members are heard and understood. All that information can be shared smoothly if people communicating it have clear objectives. This means YOU need to prepare yourself and your people for that process. Consider values, beliefs, points of view, and knowledge level of the person you are communicating with.
Before we address other ways for effective communication, let’s consider the barriers that you may encounter.
Barriers to Effective Communication
Deborah J. Barrett, a Professor of the Practice of Writing and Communication at Rice University in Houston, Texas addressed this issue by looking at communication from 2 different perspectives: ideal and realistic communication.
In the case of ideal communication, the context of it is described as having the sender, the message, and the receiver. The sender understands the context and the receiver, selects the right medium, and sends a clear message. On the other side, the receiver receives and understands that message precisely as the sender intended.
You must show confidence when communicating with your people. That way, people will believe the information you are sharing. If at any point, you display lack of confidence when communicating, your people may feel uneasy and apathetic.
It’s crucial for you use that confidence to develop your own style and poise in communication, especially when interacting with individuals and teams. You can then level up your character as a trustworthy leader and help motivate others do the same. Confidence can bring uniformity and help your team work together toward completing their objectives and goals.
Highly successful leaders are energetic and enthusiastic. That brings courage to conversations and helps you convert your thoughts and ideas into action through effective communication.
If at any point you feel doubtful or disconnected, your teams will have a difficult time relating to the message you are trying to convey. It’s essential for you to stay courageous and fearless. Failure is a step in the knowledge staircase and your people will respect your understanding of it.
Use those opportunities to admit your mistakes openly and share your insights to the team. That will result in further development of individuals and further growth of your team.
Brevity is the soul of wit. What an amazing thought coming from an English poet William Shakespeare. As leaders, we need to speak concisely. It’s vital to figure out the essence of our message and share it clearly.
Having great communication skills in leadership means getting straight to the point. This is the core of any level of communication, from junior to the top-most executive people. As leaders, we need to be mindful of what we are communicating with our people.
This means eliminating any ambiguity. Be aware of your message and have a strong understanding of what you’re sharing. To do that, you must develop a clear thought process.
Do you believe brevity is vital in communication? Let me know by typing it out in the comment section.
As leaders, we have our areas of expertise and areas we are still improving on. You can become a better communicator by checking your ability levels and speak outside of your area of proficiency. That requires you to have a basic understanding of different areas of business. It will push the boundaries of your leadership and help you develop more effective teams.
This will happen because you will be more open to suggestions coming from people in your organization. Effective leaders use these opportunities to simplify complex information and convert it to messages that any member of your team can understand.
Speaking with people about things outside of your knowledge area will result in moving away from self-promotion. You will also learn how to speak about other areas of business with ease through the development of general knowledge.
Effective leaders also communicate with distinction. You can achieve that by focusing on the direction and strategy among and between teams within the organization. This will result in teamwork-oriented goal achievement.
In larger organizations, leaders may not be able to communicate with everyone. This is where you can develop an ability to interact with groups as if they were an individual. Because of the distinction, people will feel like you are talking to them in a one-on-one conversation.
Having this ability will also help you develop teams and inspire people to achieve more as they become leaders in their own areas.
One of the most powerful ways of communicating is through storytelling. All effective leaders must have the ability to tell a story. To do that, you can learn how to use personal stories and anecdotes while communicating. This will help you connect with people on a more personal level as they will be able to develop some form of relation to the story.
Sometimes, those stories will not be understood right away. It’s essential for you to repeat the message and adjust it as needed until everyone on the team understands it. Repetition may seem redundant, but it can also be a powerful tool to higher conversion of conversations into actions. This will increase team productivity and understanding of concepts and ideas needed to succeed.
The final and most crucial principle of effective communication is active listening. Leaders tend to focus on effective speaking most of the time. You can step away from this norm by patiently listening to the message and develop understanding of it.
Active listening should be practiced on all levels of the organization. This is where you need to act as a role model. If you want your people to actively listen to your messages, you need to listen to them and understand their perspective.
To further improve it, develop a solid feedback system which will help your team address where the communication needs to improve. It will also help overcome limitations and correct errors if any of those arise from conversations.
How Can Leadership Improve Communication?
Why are exceptional communication skills required for leaders to be effective? Because communication serves as a connecting bridge between leaders and their people.
Keep developing your communication by showing confidence when communicating with your people. Bring courage to conversations and convert your thoughts and ideas into action. Speak concisely, figure out the essence of your message and share it clearly.
Check your ability levels and speak outside of your area of proficiency. Communicate with distinction by focusing on the direction and strategy among and between teams. Develop your skill further through personal stories and anecdotes while communicating. Patiently listen to the message and develop understanding of it through active listening. With those 7 principles, you will become a more effective communicator and leader.
Do you have your own way of developing leadership communication? Let me know in the comments below.
Ready to take the next step in your leadership journey?