Effective Leadership Communication Skills

Your leadership communication skills are what will bring you success with your team.  Why?  Because, along with planning, communication is an important part of building relationships in all styles of leadership.

How successful of a leader you are is dependent upon how good your communication skills are.  Learning and developing these skills will get you to the next level.

If you are a manager that has a team to complete a project, how effective would you be if you couldn't get your plans and message across?  How would anyone know what needs to be done?

That's why communication skills are part of the important leadership traits to have.  Without them, you will not be an effective leader.

You will also have to consider how you communicate with your team.  Your communication style does influence how they will see you.  How you communicate can make or break or career. So, its important to develop effective leadership communication skills.

Many people think they need to impress others by using big words.  They feel that they will have more respect from their team. 

Leadership Communication Skills

How you communicate isn't about your vocabulary usage or your meaning.  Communication is how you come across to the other person.  It s how you relay your plans and message so that it is clearly and easily understood.

Leadership communication skills are the main factor to your success in the workplace.  Its not just verbal and written skills.  But, it also includes body language and listening skills as well.

To be an effective leader you need to be able to communicate well.  With a little planning, practicing and focusing on improving your communication style, you'll develop good leadership communication skills.

Leadership Communication Skills Process

There's a process to help improve your leadership communication skills that you need to start with to become a better communicator. A process that can be applied to every aspect of your life, not just in the workplace.

It involves planning, having the right message, how you want to get the message across, listening to make sure they understand and evaluating whether your message was interpreted successfully.


Plan. 

Before you get started, plan out what you're going to say.  Don't go overboard with the details because it will just confuse the other person.  Think about who you are communicating with and how much information they need to know.

Determine how you plan on getting the message across to them.  Whether you will be speaking in person or on the phone or writing an email or sending a text are also important factors to consider. Don't forget that you need to evaluate whether they understood your message.


Message.

Make sure you know what message you want to get across to the other person.  Think about how they might perceive your message and whether you will be using the right words and body language so they will understand you.  Their reaction is something you need to consider.  Have backup material in case more explanation is needed.

When writing, you have to realize that there is no emotion or body language to go with the words.  You're better off keeping the slang out of the message because it could be misunderstood.  Make sure you plan your message so it has the right tone without being overbearing. If you think your message will give the wrong idea, then change it.


Method.

Decide the best way to communicate your message.  If you use email it should be for something simple.  If you need to give a more detailed explanation you might want to speak in person or on the phone.  There are many factors to help you decide the method of communication.  It can depend on how sensitive the information is, whether you need to explain details, how the receiver wants to get the message, time constraints and if your message will bring up more questions.


Listen.

You usually want to make sure you get all of your information across, but you also need to stop and listen to what the receiver is saying.  You need to pay attention to the other person by looking at them and observing their body language.  Think about what they're saying, don't interrupt them and don't spend the time thinking about what you will say next. And of course, when you're communicating with someone, shut off your phone.  You don't want to get distracted by anything including calls and texts.


Evaluate.

You need to spend the time looking at the other person's body language and perhaps asking questions to see if they understood what you said.  See if you put them on the defensive or if they agree with what you said.  Make sure they feel confident with your information, whether they understand it and how interested they are in the subject.  Sometimes the person will agree and say they understand when they really don't.  As you interpret their body language you can adjust your message so they understand it.  You also might have them repeat what you said to them so you know they understand your message.


Here are some other tips to improve your leadership communication skills:


  • Be kind to the other person when speaking.  When you're rude to the other person it causes them to be on the defensive.  When that happens, it turns into an argument, nothing gets done and you're back to square one.

     
  • Ask questions.  When the other person comes in to ask for help in some way, you can start with asking them questions.  Try to find out what they are doing, the process and the outcome they're hoping for.  When you ask questions, the other person will have to think and he or she may just come up with the information they need.

     
  • Always use the "I" statement.  It puts the other person at ease.  When "you" is used, the other person feels accused.  Example, "you are always late." Instead, use "I feel that you are always running late."

     
  • Be specific.  Don't make generalized statements, say exactly what you want done.  Another way of saying "we need to find a way to increase sales," say "lets meet for 30 minutes to discuss different sales methods that are working."

     
  • Stay positive.  When you speak about positive outcomes or pointing out the positive in everything, will make the other person more interested in what you have to say.  If you have negative thinking, most people will get tired of it and try to leave the room.  When you're positive, you tend to be more passionate about your subject.

     
  • Focus on the future.  You need to help people make decisions that will change the future.  If their decision only holds them back or keeps them stagnant, then you want to help them make positive changes that will improve their future outcome.

     
  • Listen to the other person.  Don't let your mind wander off.  Show that you're genuinely interested in what the other person has to say.  Ask questions or rephrase a statement to make sure you understand it.  When you really listen, the other person will open up more, making it easier to help them.

     
  • Help build someone's self-image.  People act according to how they view themselves.  If they have a low self-image, then they aren't very productive.  Those that think highly of themselves will work more productively.  Its important for you to help build others people's self-image of themselves.  This will create a more positive environment as well.

     
  • Make yourself sound interesting.  Rather than droning on in a monotonous voice, use voice inflection to ask questions or get your point across.  It will also help you to use body language while talking.  Your eyes and posture will help emphasize your words.  Others will want to listen to you.

     
  • Speak to people using their own language.  Talk to the other person at their own level.  Using big words to show you're smart, can be a real turn-off to someone.  They won't know what you mean, get bored and their productivity will drop.

     
  • Be clear and brief.  State the facts of what you want to get across.  Get to the point and don't be vague.
      

As a communicator its important for you to make sure your plans and message comes across the way you intended. 

You need to listen to what the other person is saying, pay attention to their body language and ask questions to make sure they understand you.  Planning and leadership communication skills can be a lot of effort but its a skill that will help you succeed in many areas of your life.

 

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