Great Leadership Requires Great Communication
While there are many articles, books and quotes that say you can’t be a great leader without being a great communicator, there are countless people in leadership who have not mastered even the most basic of communication skills.
We really can’t blame them – growing up we are not taught how to communicate properly with others, and are instead focused on expanding our vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. But, communication can make or break an organization, and in fact, most teams experience a loss of productivity due to communication issues.
Communication requires three main components: A speaker, a listener, and the message between them. While that should be pretty simple to implement, it’s really not. Especially in today’s increasingly egocentric society where we want to be heard, but don’t necessarily want to listen.
The great communicators listen with an open ear, eager to hear and understand what is being said, as well as what isn’t. They are astute at reading the people they are communicating with, and sense their attitudes, dynamics, and emotions. When they speak, great communicators are able to share their ideas in a way that inspires and motivates others. Most of all, leaders who are good communicators are open and approachable. People feel safe around them, and trust that their ideas won’t be ridiculed or dismissed.
So, how does one start improving their communication skills and create a more productive organization, as well as a more congenial one?
- Start by opening up and having real conversations with your team. Give them a safe space to share their ideas, and respect what they have to say.
- Be specific with your message, and keep it simple and concise. People today are too busy to listen as you provide details that don’t concern them. Give them the key facts, and be open to providing more detail should they need it.
- Listen more, talk less. Don’t let your ego dictate how much you say. Instead, focus on what you are hearing, seeing, and reading between the lines.
- Most importantly, be respectful. You can say most anything to anyone if you do so in a calm, respectful manner. That means respecting their ideas, viewpoints, experience, and communication style. Leaders recognize the need to adjust how they speak to different people based on personal communication styles, and this helps create a foundation on which excellence can be built.
Becoming a great communicator takes practice, but it also produces an ROI that any business would welcome. So, are you listening?