5 Effective Leadership and Communication Tips for Leaders
Ever felt like you were in a conversation with someone and everything you said was misinterpreted as the exact opposite of what you are trying to say? The more you tried to correct the conversation the further into the hole you went. Communication is the key to connection or disconnection with others.
Communication is defined as the act of transferring information from one place to another. Sounds simple, so what makes communicating effectively so difficult? The four main channels for communication are verbal (spoken word), nonverbal (body expressive), written (printed or digital), and visual (maps, visual aids). Someone with strong leadership and communication skills will be able to navigate all of these forms of communication brilliantly.
When you master the art of communication, it will benefit you in all aspects of your life. Communication is about connection. Being able to communicate clearly will help you become an effective leader and open doors for advancement in your professional life. You’ll build stronger and more meaningful relationships in your personal and professional life.
Why Is Communication Important In Leadership?
Leadership and communication go hand-in-hand. The more you hone your verbal and nonverbal communication skills, the stronger and more effective your presence as a leader will be. Great leaders clearly communicate and open the door for collaboration and communication. This creates a culture where everyone connects with a sense of belonging. Below are 5 tips for effective leadership communication for personal and professional growth.
1: Adapt Your Communication Style
Identifying your leadership style is an important part of becoming self-aware as a leader. The difference between a person who is green and a seasoned leader is their ability to adapt or tweak their leadership style to better suit the team they are leading.
Just as you need to identify your leadership style, you also need to figure out how your communication style aligns with that. Exceptional leaders know how to adapt their leadership style and inspire results. The same is true for communication styles. Every member of your team is going to be motivated differently, so learning how to effectively communicate with each individual plays a vital role in achieving organizational goals.
For example, visionary leaders are often eloquent in their communication. Visionary leaders inspire others to consider new possibilities. They unite their teams behind a strong vision for the future with a clear sense of purpose. Great visionaries understand that they must slow down and check-in with those around them. They engage others in conversation with curiosity. They recognize some people need quick bullet-point information while others may need a slowed down detailed thoughtful approach. Knowing your audience and adapting to their style creates the space for everyone to engage in a common vision, even if the communication path to get there is different.
2: Be Curious and Ask Thought-Provoking Questions
Strong verbal communication is born of practice and lots of trial and error. As you grow as a leader, your experience will allow you to become a more confident speaker. There are strategies you can start to implement into your verbal communication now in terms of team leadership. One of the most effective strategies to employ is asking open-ended questions. This practice allows you to garner a deeper understanding of your team’s motivations, intentions, and aspirations. When you ask open-ended questions that elicit more thoughtful responses, you can gain valuable insight. This will help you tailor your approach in leading your team to successful outcomes.
It’s easy for leaders to fall into the trap of valuing themself as the problem solvers. When you engage in conversations about yourself as the “hero” problem solver, you unintentionally put the other person in the position of needing to be rescued, without the ability to partner in the solution. If your questions remain “safe” and “shallow”, you risk missing the real problems at the root of the issues and thus fail to create satisfactory solutions to the challenges faced by patients and customers. Open-ended questions bring the observer’s perspective to the conversation and expand possibility and awareness.
3: Learn Curious Empathetic Listening “Active Listening”
Active listening is a powerful tool for effective leadership. When you are actively engaged with what your team members are saying, you are demonstrating several things.
- You value their input and insight.
- You are taking an interest in their professional development.
- You consider them an asset.
- You respect their ideas and opinions.
Many people are intrinsically motivated by validation. So, when you remain present and focused through active listening, you are creating a fertile environment for team building and professional growth opportunities.
4: Listen for What is Not Being Said
Great communicators are great listeners. They listen beyond the words being said. Nonverbal cues are reliable indicators of how a person is emotionally receiving and reacting to information. Being present and listening with curiosity goes beyond listening to the words. When you value the way people feel about a situation, you create empathy and honesty in the conversation. You expand your active listening when you listen beyond the words and tap into the emotional ties to the situation or person.
Exceptional leaders are present. They have an awareness of how to carry themselves and have an astuteness to reading the nonverbal cues of others. They let go of listening to respond with personal agendas, assumptions, and low-value responses to keep the conversation open. By being present, they stay aware of their body language to ensure they convey the right message. They physically connect by making eye contact to check in with how engaged the other person is. As you grow as a leader, you’ll become more and more intuitive and perceptive in reading the nonverbal communication of others. The result is authentic conversations that build trust and respect.
5: Seek Feedback
Feedback is a gift. Yet, the word feedback can create a reaction that triggers our inner critic to fight or run from the conversation. One of the most valuable things you can get as you seek to develop your leadership communication skills is insights into how other people see you. The most well-respected leaders are formed from how they’ve responded to their setbacks, mistakes, and failures. When you actively seek feedback, especially from the team you are leading, it sets a powerful example.
Asking for feedback is important, but implementing the feedback is what will create a deeper level of respect. It shows you are dedicated to your team’s success and to improving your ability to manifest that success.
Effective Leadership Communication Development
At COA, we are your leadership coaching experts. If you are interested in developing or refining your leadership skills, we can help you reach your full potential. Contact us today for more information!