COMMUNICATION SKILLS: FOUR LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES
By NICHOLAS C. HILL (FIC FinstLM)
A Leaders’ communication skills are one of the core builders of any organisation. Once equipped with the right strategies in communicating or dealing with employees, leaders get to accomplish the groundwork for efficient and healthy workplace dynamics. This groundwork involves employee motivation, problem resolution, and team building. By carefully choosing the right words, consciously using the proper tone of voice, and channelling constructive verbal cues and gestures, a leader can easily rise above personal differences and bridge the gap between opposing principles and priorities in the workplace.
Here are four simple techniques to help demonstrate effective communication skills in any position of leadership or management.
1) Ask rather than tell
In gauging a leader’s communication skills, one of the most reliable indicators is how his or her subordinates respond to tasks and assignments. Employees respond positively when we trust them and grant them autonomy. They will of course do the job, but whether they’ll do it with enthusiasm and interest is an entirely different story. A way to address this is to ask rather than tell – a challenge to the communication skills of any leader or manager that is short of time. Instead of saying, “you need to do it this way”, you can rephrase the message by asking, “in what way can you do it?” You could be surprised by their creativity.
2) Avoid a condescending tone/language
It is given that a leader is sufficiently knowledgeable in terms of the inner workings of an organisation. From the company’s mission to the planned steps on how to achieve it, employees are aware that managers are privileged with first access to certain information, and at times, even privy to manager-level company-oriented discussions. What employees don’t appreciate is for their leaders, who are supposed to have unrivalled communication skills, to talk down to them. Such phrases as wouldn’t it have made more sense if you, I told you this would happen, you need to earn the right to do that, and you don’t need to know that, capture what a condescending tone and language is about.
3) Prevent using accusatory phrases
There’s no point in pointing fingers whenever something goes wrong. As a leader, it is important to take the brunt of any blunder with the team, after all, that is what teamwork is about. With effective communication skills, a leader will know how to give constructive feedback without resorting to lines like you made a mistake, that’s not what I told you to do, and you’re wrong.
4) Do not cut the communication lines
When the going gets tough, the tough gets into an open line of communication. This is what sets a competent leader apart from an inefficient one. During circumstances characterized by severity, managers should know how to keep a discussion going with his or her team, so as to eventually determine where things might have gone awry. Saying phrases like case closed, period, just figure it out, or this is not a democracy, is as good as bailing out on the concept of problem solving through communication skills, and defeats the purpose of concepts like coaching and mentoring.
Leaders and managers with poor communication skills should not get disheartened, though. There are effective communication skills training courses that cater to this concern and we offer some of the very best available.
Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W: www.nicholashill.com