BUSINESS

5 ways for a leader to become a better communicator.

A big part of being a great leader is having great communication skills.

Think about the people who sit at the top end of big companies. Think about the number of people they need to speak with every day. Perhaps they are communicating complex concepts or maybe they are announcing decisions that they know not everyone will like.

Whether you’re sitting at the head of a creative company or you’re a digital technology leader, your communications need to be clear, concise and confident – qualities that don’t come naturally to everyone.

Why is communication important?

You might be thinking, is communication really all that important in being a good leader? The short answer is, well, yes.

Being a leader is all about helping people understand your vision and take it on as if it were their own, so communicating that vision successfully is of the utmost importance.

Looking at the environment we are currently living and working in, communication is arguably more important than ever. With many companies adopting a hybrid or entirely remote working culture, there are new challenges for leaders to overcome, including the high chance that most of your comms are now virtual.

How can you improve your communication?

All this emphasis on communication begs the question, am I a good communicator? If not, how do I go about improving those skills?

Here are our 5 top ways in which leaders (or anyone, in fact) can work to improve their communication skills.

Listen more, speak less.

Perhaps something that seems contradictory considering we are discussing communication but hear us out. In order to communicate effectively, you should really understand who you’re communicating with.

Let’s say you’re a manager trying to communicate with your team and facilitate discussions about progression. The first step here is to listen to your team members and understand their goals.

What do they want to achieve?

Where do they think their strengths and weaknesses are?

Are they feeling happy in their current role?

Are they feeling ready for the next step?

These are all vital questions that you need the answers to in order to communicate effectively with your team, and the only way to get those answers is by asking and listening.

If you’re yapa-yapa-yapping too much, your team might feel like you lack investment in them as individuals.

The same can be said for larger-scale situations. If a politician isn’t seen to be listening to their constituents, they will not be perceived as a good leader.

Listen more, speak less.

Talk to people, not at people.

Consider the best conversations you’ve had in your life. We guarantee those were two-way conversations – ideas were being shared, and you weren’t being preached at.

This remains true when it comes to leadership.

The notion of talking to people implies that you are considering their position as well as your own. The notion of talking at people sort of implies that you’d be saying the same thing whether they were standing in front of you or not.

It’s easy to think that as a leader you need to be the one with all the ideas, the one giving people direction, the one leading the conversation for lack of a better word but really that’s not always the case. Of course, people will look to you for a certain amount of authority but the best leaders are open to change, rather than taking the ‘my way or the high way’ approach.

Talk to people, not at people.

It’s not about you.

As mentioned above, good leaders are authoritative but great leaders are open to being challenged.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your business, your team, and your people are developing. That’s why you need to be open to having your ideas challenged. That’s why you should never get stuck in your ways.

The world is changing and developing so fast, the only way to navigate it with agility (and not get left in the dust) is by being open to that change.

It’s not about you.

Consistency is key.

We know we just talked about being open to change, which we stand by – don’t get us wrong. That being said, though, when it comes to great communication, consistency is key.

Imagine your manager encouraging you to make the most of your flexible working hours one day, then insisting you are in the office at 9 am the next. Confusing, right?

That’s why t’s crucial as a leader that you are consistent in your communications.

Consistency is key.

Be transparent.

Our fifth and final tip for improving your communication skills – be transparent.

We can’t stress this enough.

In this new working world and the time coming for Gen Z’s to step into the workplace, we predict approachable, aloof bosses are out. Plus, when it comes to effective communication as a leader, there’s no space for lies or twisting of the truth.

Your team aren’t stupid – if you’re hiding things from them, they’ll likely know. It doesn’t paint you as a good or trustworthy leader (or person).

Arguably the hardest part of communication, especially as a leader, is telling people things they don’t want to hear. Whether you’re having to drop your budgets or you’re giving someone constructive criticism, transparency is a must.

Nobody wants to be lied to. You might think you’re keeping someone (or yourself) safe but in the long run, that’s hardly ever the case.

Be transparent.

  1. Listen more, speak less
  2. Talk to people, not at people
  3. It’s not about you
  4. Consistency is key
  5. Be transparent

Conclusion

  • Briefly summarise the intro, 5 points and sign off

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