Jackie Roberson gives us some simple communication tips for leaders.
Your company’s leaders are the glue that hold the entire enterprise together. Without leadership, your business would crumble into a mess of disorganised labour. Still, not all glue is strong; if your business isn’t performing at peak capacity, it might be the fault of your leaders. And typically, when your leadership is cracking, it’s because they don’t know how to communicate.
Communication is an integral human ability, but not everyone has innate knowledge and skill in communicating effectively, especially in a business environment. If you sense your leadership’s ability to communicate is weak, here are some ways you can stimulate it.
Train, educate, progress
Unlike other forms of communication — e.g. with your spouse, your kids, your friends, your siblings — communicating within a business organisation has rigid and complex rules. Reports and presentations must be delivered in a specific format and style using particular language. Fortunately, unlike other types of communication, business communication can be learned in an educational setting.
Leaders who cannot communicate effectively rarely inspire trust in their teams.
If your leaders have fundamental problems with formal business communication, you should consider supporting them in the pursuit of advanced business education. A California MBA is designed to help business leaders gain the skills necessary to succeed, and there is typically a profound emphasis on education.
Even after graduation, your leaders can supplement their communication skills with additional training. Then, they should continue to practice their communication knowledge to enhance their relationships with your workforce.
Build a foundation of trust
Trust is integral to organisational leadership for several reasons. Specifically, in regard to communication, trust encourages workers to open up to their superiors about emotions and ideas, which can move a business in a more positive, more productive direction. However, leaders who cannot communicate effectively rarely inspire trust in their teams.
Unlike other behaviours and attitudes, trust cannot be demanded. Instead, leaders must slowly and carefully establish trust, which largely relies on proper communication. Your leaders should develop trust-building communication tactics, such as:
- Telling the truth, always
- Admitting fault and taking blame
- Giving credit to appropriate parties
- Avoiding gossip and badmouthing
- Following through on commitments
Demonstrate active listening
People in positions of authority tend to speak often — which typically enables them to develop the bad habit of listening rarely. Thus, when communicating with subordinates, leaders talk, lecture, and harangue, hardly giving workers a word in edgeways.
However, speaking without listening is a failure to engage in effective communication, and it often prevents leaders from recognising important cues that could improve performance. Instead, you should instruct your leaders to listen actively, which means concentrating on what workers are saying.
Engage emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, understand, control, and express your emotions. Though some leaders interpret emotional intelligence as an unnecessary quality, it is imperative for those in management positions.
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Employees aren’t merely labour; they are humans whose productivity depends largely upon their emotional states. Leaders’ emotional intelligence provides empathy and compassion for their subordinates, helping them to communicate more effectively and authentically.
Fortunately, if your leaders don’t already demonstrate an EQ, it is possible to enhance your leaders’ emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, it requires introspection and self-awareness, which is difficult to teach.
Once again, you should consider sending your leaders to educational programmes, seminars, and training for emotional intelligence and encourage the application of emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Establish takeaways and leave-behinds
Typically, written documents are finished with conclusions, which sum up the important points and provide action items. Spoken conversations, especially those taking place between leaders and workers, should end with the same sorts of statements.
Leaders often establish takeaways, which consist of new information collected during communication, but few are adept at establishing leave-behinds, which ensure the other member(s) of the interaction depart with aligned expectations, inspiration, motivation, or new ideas. You should start practising leave-behinds with your leaders, so they develop the habit with their teams.
It isn’t uncommon for leaders to be efficient at gleaning the most important information from an interaction, but they must learn to contribute as much as they receive. In a business, every instance of communication matters; every conversation, written or spoken, has the potential to improve the organisation.
Leaders are the most influential members of a business, which means they set the tone for communication within your organisation. The sooner you can enhance your leadership’s communication skills, the better.
About the author
Jackie Roberson is a content coordinator and contributor who creates quality articles for topics like technology, home life, business, personal finance, and education.