Communication in leadership plays a central role in whether a leader is effective in their position or not. When a leader can communicate well, it tends to make it easier for employees to build trust with their leaders.
Being a skilled communicator is a strong advantage for becoming a great leader. Communication channels continue to increase, and there is also a greater need for leaders to be connected with their employees. Being able to have effective workplace conversations makes it easier to successfully implement important changes.
The core of leadership communication involves conveying the core values and company culture to employees and other stakeholders. Communication from leadership can have a direct effect on how the organization’s mission, vision, and any transformations are interpreted. Effective leadership communication is the first step towards cultivating trust between employer and employees.
Excellent communication skills are highly advantageous to leadership. When an effective leader can provide clear communication, they likely possess situational and contextual awareness as well. This combination makes them good listeners and ensures astute observations, both of which serve to enhance communication skills.
In today’s business environment an alarmingly high number of employees indicate that directions given to them are not always clear, and an even higher number of managers indicate they are not comfortable in their communication with employees.
This problem does not stop at a lack of confidence or skill level in a manager. Where leadership communication is not effective, employee productivity, motivation, and satisfaction will suffer. Leaders will also not be able to expect employees to feel connected and engaged with their work environment, which impairs the everyday functioning of the office.
The motivation and drive of employees need to be one of the main priorities in a business. In order for this to be upheld, a strong line of communication is essential. Leaders need to be able to think clearly, express their ideas, and disseminate information to a variety of people with different communication needs. Strong communication skills are one of the fundamental cornerstones of a thriving business.
Communication touches on everything that a leader does. Everything from goal setting to conflict resolution has a strong communication element at its center. Therefore, communication skills become essential tools in a leader’s arsenal.
A good communicator understands that communication is more than sharing information – simply transferring ideas is not enough. For communication to be successful, leaders need to be sensitive to non-verbal cues, opposing positions, and the core values of the audience they are speaking to. At times leaders will be responsible for aligning expectations between employees and the business, and being able to speak openly about expectations and challenges can make this process much easier. Furthermore, understanding the right time to communicate and the best mode to impart a particular message based on the audience you need to reach is also important.
A communicator should be able to build trust and meaningful relationships through employee engagement and engagements with other stakeholders. They have to gain trust so that they can build a shared vision and take steps toward inspiring action in the workforce.
One of the foundations of great communicators is approachability. Being authentic is also an attribute that many great leaders have mastered. It is easier to form a strong bond and open dialogue with someone who is authentic in their behavior and their message.
We have identified some top tips to communicate effectively in the workplace that leaders can implement into their daily routines.
Always involve others in your action plans so that you can be certain your plans follow the organizational goals. Effective communication in the workplace necessarily means the company’s goals are reflected in action plans.
Effective leaders know how important tough conversations are. Effective leadership communication skills include skills related to difficult conversations. Avoiding conflict or difficult situations is a clear path to poor communication and, by extension, poor leadership.
Effective leaders understand that saying and not doing is harmful to the credibility not only of your leadership communication skills but also of your trustworthiness. Do what you claim you will do, otherwise it becomes very difficult for employees to have faith and trust in their leaders.
When you ask for honest feedback, take what is said seriously and use it to improve any poor communication habits you might have. This will exponentially help you to build trust within your organization.
Information and feedback from key stakeholders are invaluable to leadership. Make sure that part of your leadership communication always involves listening and engagement as well.
Leadership communication never goes only one way. Leadership teams need to take feedback from employees seriously, and in order to gain the most from leadership communication, they have to know what questions to ask so they may get the most benefit from the answers. This is also a skill that can be developed through experience, practice, and training.
Leaders must be able to understand their audience. Being able to pick up on non-verbal cues and the overall feelings of the audience is key to successful communication. Knowing your audience also helps in this regard.
Congruence is essential in communication, and in order for someone to be able to feel comfortable communicating with you, your body language needs to be congruent with the message you are trying to send. People tend to be sensitive to incongruence between what you are saying and what your body language is telling them.
Understand who you are speaking to and be sensitive to cultural needs. Think about the content of your message and how the audience might receive it.
Poor communication is often supported by a lack of preparedness. Be prepared as far as possible for any eventuality. This is especially true when it is possible that a message might not be received positively.
Keep your communication as simple as possible, do not complicate things unnecessarily, and do not beat around the bush. Be direct and be honest.
Any communication requires clear expectations, even communication that is not a one-on-one conversation or a group meeting (for example, an email or memo sent to all staff).
Workplace communication is always developing and changing. Leaders must keep finding new ways to communicate with their staff. At times leaders can derail their communication efforts because they are afraid to overshare or not communicate clearly. Challenges are more typical when stresses are running high and when deadlines are missed, or expectations are not met. When motivation is running low, there might also be roadblocks in communication efforts. Effective leadership communication requires constant adjustment to meet the requirements of the moment.
Engaging in training and professional development throughout your career is a good way to ensure that you are constantly developing excellent communication skills and keeping these skills up to date. Effective communication skills can be learned, so it is possible to improve on poor leadership communication. Great leaders listen and overcome challenges when they arise, and this includes problems with their own communications strategy.