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How Important Is Communication When You Are The Leader

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Four Tips On How To Develop Your Communication Skills.

Leadership is influenced by all kinds of factors. It’s influenced by technology, team work, power, intelligence, authority, adaptability, versatility and communication skills. However, of all these different qualities, communication skills are often ignored by many up and coming leaders. The reason behind this is because people equate communication with “just talking,” which is unfortunate because communication is more than just about talking or being talked to. It’s also about establishing trust, managing conflict and creating a sense of openness between you and your subordinates, clients and colleagues.

However, in order to put these various factors into perspective, we will need to consider how communication influences leadership. So just how important is communication when you are the leader?

In order to answer that question, we will need to review the definition of leadership, especially as it relates to team building. Although it’s easy for a leader or group of leaders to say how their “door is always open,” establishing a reliable line of communication between you and your team members is not something that can easily be done, particularly if your team members and employees don’t trust you (or each other).

In other words, communication is not just about what you tell your staff and employees, it’s also about:

  • The tools you use to communicate with your subordinates, clients and colleagues.
  • The willingness of your staff and colleagues to have an open discussion with you.
  • Your ability to handle sensitive issues.
  • Your ability to resolve conflict
  • Your ability to be impartial when problems arise.

Admittedly, mastering these different aspects of communication will take time, but once you have figured it all out, everything else will fall into place. Your employees, partners and customers will be more open to you, and more importantly, they will trust you. Moreover, by developing excellent communication skills, a leader will also be able to:

  • Filter out inaccurate information
  • Establish better relationships with people around them
  • Help people open up to their message
  • Avoid social friction

In order for potential leaders to develop their communication skills, there are certain strategies and pointers that needs to be considered. So if you’re in the process of developing your communication skills, here are several tips to help you get started.

Consider Your Communication Strategy

The first step in developing your communication skills is to consider your goals. How do you plan to communicate with people around you? Do you prefer a more personal approach, or do you prefer to address people as a group?

Consider how your audience might react to your approach and adapt accordingly.

Also, consider which medium of communication you want to use. Do you want to focus on emails, cellphones, video mail, formal letters, text messaging or the person to person approach? Consider how each medium will change your message, and choose your medium wisely.

How Do You Deliver Your Message?

Aside from your communication strategy, you will also need to worry about delivery. You will need to deliver your message with conviction. You will also need to relate each message (whether good or bad) to your long term goals as well as to the team’s best interest. In delivering your message, you will also need to identify proper solutions and course of actions. Delivery is a little tricky to master, but it is one of the most important aspects of good communication.

Learn to Listen

Listening is arguably the most important aspect of communication. It requires an open mind, the ability to identify core issues, a willingness to receive constructive criticisms and the ability to confirm one’s own ideas. Listening is also about making the right assumptions about your peer’s motives, emotions and feelings in relation to what they are talking about. This skill is not easily mastered, but it is something that anyone can develop, particularly if you talk to a lot of people regularly. For example, simply listening to what they have to say while observing their body language will slowly develop your ability to listen to people, and at the same time, discern what’s going on inside their heads.

Get A Team Building Expert To Help You Out

Finally, communication is more than just about one person. It concerns the whole team. So in developing your own communication skills, you may want to develop your own team building skills as well. In this, the services of a team building expert may come in handy. This is because good communication is often useful in situations where decisive thought is required, and decisive thought requires group cohesion, which is one of the goals of team building and communication.

On the other hand, a team with poor group cohesion will often lie or twist the truth because its members feel that they don’t know how to trust each other, thus leading to miscommunication. A team building expert can eliminate these sorts of problems, and improve your team’s productivity and communication skills in a very significant way.

About the author: Adam Evans is a blogger for catering cutlery uk. He likes to write blogs for restaurant, improve catering business and in his free time likes to try various food recipes.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MoBowen

    Adam… When I started reading through the article, I hoped you would mention something about listening. Thank goodness you didn’t disappoint — plus your opinion of listening matches perfectly with mine.

    Listening is a communication skill that many people fail to master. Why? Well, we love to talk about ourselves… our issues… our problems… our successes. That’s just human nature. Plus, we want people to listen to us and tell us that we’re right.

    I’m just the opposite. I’m very outgoing, but I prefer hearing other people’s stories. When I work, I like hearing other people’s opinions. That doesn’t mean I take everything to heart. You definitely have to listen with an open mind, but also be able to filter what works for you and what doesn’t. Also, you can’t get emotionally undone when other people’s opinions don’t match up to yours.

    Case in point — around 15 years ago I was co-authoring a book. My co-author was very firm about what I was doing wrong. My gosh, I got so angry I almost quit the project several times. But I didn’t. I actually listened and followed his advice. The end result was a project that generated enough royalties to pay my bills for 6 years.

    My life would have been significantly different if I didn’t listen to him. The one experience made me a believer in shutting my mouth and opening my ears.

  • Phyllis Moore

    @MoBowen, thanks so much for sharing. That’s a powerful example of the importance of listening. I’m very glad to hear how favorably it all worked out for you. That’s excellent!

    @Adam, this is a great article. It covers so much.

    I agree, that listening is crucial and there’s more to it than mumbling what can be an empty expression “the door is always open.” Yes, but the real question is, who is in that office? Will I, as a team member feel welcomed or intimidated at the thought of walking through that door?

    I think leaders must go out of their way to make themselves accessible to others so that they have the freedom to express ideas. There’s nothing worse than being in an intimidating work environment in which you feel your thoughts and opinions aren’t valued. It’s very constraining. Productivity will be impacted as there will not be the dynamic exchange of ideas that can lead to new strategies and approaches that would otherwise never have come about.

    Leaders must take their responsibility seriously and make sure they are communicating in a manner that respects everyone’s dignity and allows everyone to be a contributing member of the team. The true leaders have that kind of humility and it’s what sets them apart from despots, dictators and control freaks.

    • MoBowen

      @Phyllis Moore, you also make a valid point here about “the door is always open” statement.

      My friend is an audio-visual guy for a law firm. The manager is always asking for improvement suggestions. My friend suggested (several times) that they switch software for a particular task, but the manager has ignored the request.

      Last week my friend missed a major deadline because they didn’t have the software he suggested. Naturally he was furious.

      But it just goes to show that if you implement an open door policy, you have to be willing to listen to your employees AND follow up with dialogue or action. To communicate effectively, you can’t have one and not the other.

      • Phyllis Moore

        MoBowen, I agree completely. Managers who claim they want to get input from others must also be willing to follow-up. Your friend’s experience is a classic example of what happens otherwise. And typically, adding insult to injury, the manager then blames the subordinate for what happens.

        I think such people simply do not understand their responsibilities as leaders. They just got promoted through the ranks with all of their insecurities and/or poor communication skills intact. It’s kind of like what can happen when people become celebrities and there is no one around them who can challenge their excesses. They don’t have team members or employees anymore, they have an entourage of sycophants.

        Businesses can’t run effectively under these circumstances. It’s all the more difficult when that leader is the owner or otherwise answers to no one else.

  • Scottf14

    I definitely see the merits of this article. Effective communication is more than simply talking. It is the ability to listen, interact, and lead in a way that inspires both confidence and motivation in others. The best leaders help their team members want to do their best because they will feel valued. This is absolutely the best approach!

  • I just left a job where communication was non existent. It was so frustrating.
    What I find a lot of people do is skirt the issue, meaning they do not speak directly. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. You will never have to guess what I am trying to convey. Perhaps it is because I have Asperger’s, I don’t know.

    What I do know is that the people I worked with would NEVER say anything directly. I wasted more time and energy trying to figure out what they meant when I could have been on a task, working.

    One thing they did a lot was hem and haw to my face about something, then go to someone else and say all kinds of things. Of course, it always got back to me. So I would go in and ask them directly, ‘did you say this?’ They usually acted shocked at first, then admitted it and I would ask, ‘Well, why didn’t you say that directly to me? Things would have been so much easier because I would have understood you.’

    They never had an answer for me. I think people don’t like to be direct and honest. That is a shame. That is the only way I understand.

  • Sharon

    Excellent article! The only point I think should also be mentioned falls under ‘delivery’. An important part to delivery is not only how you deliver but what your body does during that delivery. As stated, delivering your message with conviction is important. However, there are more than just words involved. It is just as important to pay attention to what your body language is conveying.
    No matter the topic, whether good or bad, your body language often says more than your words. Many people are visual, so they see more than they hear. Often those visual clues override whatever you may be saying.
    For example, if you want to convey an open door policy you need to follow that by ‘appearing’ approachable. If an employee comes to your door how to react to them says a lot. If you keep working on whatever and say ‘come back later’ – you just conveyed your lack of interest/concern. A better tactic would be to take a moment to pause what you’re doing, look at them directly, listen to what they say and then respond. By showing that your attention is on them you put a brick in their foundation of trust that you mean what you say.
    Communication is key and body language is just as important as the words you speak.

    • Phyllis Moore

      Yes, absolutely, Sharon. I agree totally. I think it comes down to the level of commitment. How committed are leaders to want their entire team to succeed. If they are committed, then they will recognize that open communications are a must. They have to recognize that communicating is not one-sided; it is an interactive process. Being domineering and inflexible serves no one.

      If leaders have that passion and commitment, it will shine through in their conduct as well as their demeanor. They will be approachable because they are eager to know more to better themselves and their team. They will be eager for the dialogue and exchange of ideas.

  • oivas

    Adam,

    Those were few very good points that you shared. In fact, listening is the main aspect of effective communication. Most of us, unfortunately, like listening to our own voice. This affects communication negatively.

    We need to ensure that voices of the team, stakeholders, customers and our peers are heard and handled. These voices allow us to learn and grow as an individual. Communication is complete with listening and not otherwise.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Adam Evans

    @MoBowen i am glad that i didn’t disappoint you with my content.
    @Scottf14 you seem be to good listen too..
    @TheAspertarian if work place has communication gap then its really difficult to keep track of work and coordinate with member. good luck for your future place.

  • Adam Evans

    @Sharon and oivas and others thank you to write and like my article. :)