Not all business owners take the same approach to leadership. For some, leadership comes naturally, while others have to practice and hone their leadership skills throughout many years. One of the most important aspects of leadership, especially when it comes to managing and empowering a team of employees, is to communicate clearly and effectively. Here are some communication skills to keep in mind as you continue to strengthen your leadership style, whether it comes naturally or not!
Transparency and Clarity
Whether it’s explaining a strategy, setting a goal, or writing an email, great leaders will communicate in a way that leaves their team with an understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. Not only do great leaders speak with clarity, they also practice transparency by communicating how decisions get made and including their team in the decision-making process when appropriate.
Each of us have different ways of communicating with one another. What works for one person might not work for the next. It’s important to take time to understand how our employees and clients communicate, and cater our communication style to meet their needs. Assessing our employee’s communication styles can be difficult, that’s why behavior assessments are such valuable tools.
Empathy is often mistaken for weakness, but it is some leaders’ greatest asset. Practicing empathic communication means acknowledging what others are saying, where it’s stemming from, and clearly confirming what it is that they need to move forward. Empathy is also important when it comes to working with and expanding your pool of clients.
Communication isn’t always about what comes out of your mouth. A lot of times, the best way to evaluate how someone really feels is by watching their body language. As a leader, it’s important to make sure your body language isn’t accidentally giving your employees or clients a negative reaction. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of how are body language is being perceived! Don’t be afraid to ask your clients or employees to express themselves when you sense that their bodies are telling you something that their words are not.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who seems uninterested? Maybe their eyes are darting all over the room, or perhaps they begin typing something on the phone or computer. Whatever it is, it never feels good on the receiving end. Great communicators are attentive listeners. When someone approaches you, take the time to listen, or set a time to have a conversation where you can allow yourself to be focused.
Communicating can be difficult, especially when we work with people who communicate differently than we do. What does good communication look like to you?