3 Communication Behaviours of Effective Leaders
It is well-established that effective communication is an essential skill for leadership success. Whether you head a small team, a department or an organisation, being able to get your message across effectively is critical to influence behaviour and drive people to take action. Strong leadership communication allows for clearly set-out objectives and expectations, and is a great way to boost employee motivation, enhance workplace productivity and facilitate performance management. Effective communication also plays a significant role in decision-making, resolving workplace issues and on a larger scale, even brings about systemic changes in the organisation.
Whether you are a leader or aspire to be one in the future, it is imperative that you embody effective communication habits in order to elevate your leadership capabilities. Below are three key behaviours of effective leadership communication:
Communicate authentically A leader who communicates with sincerity and honesty is generally more successful at creating positive relationships, establishing trust and building strong team camaraderie. Communicating authentically encompasses being clear, truthful and consistent in your communication and taking responsibility for the messages you put across. Ensure that you work with facts and avoid making assumptions about what your employees are thinking or feeling. Authentic communication also comes through in your body language and the tone of your voice, so be mindful that your employees can pick up on your nonverbal cues if you lack authenticity.
Communicate your ‘why’ If you want your team to resonate with your leadership decisions, it is essential that you communicate your ‘why’ clearly. For example, if a workplace issue requires resolution - clearly explain to your team what needs to be done, why you want a particular course of action to be taken and highlight the consequences of not doing so. Employees are more likely to rally behind leadership decisions when they have a holistic understanding of their purpose and expectations.
Listen Great leaders listen. Making employees feel valued and that their voice truly matters goes a long way in fostering a driven team. Avoid merely hearing what they have to say - instead, allow them to lead their conversations with you by ‘actively’ listening to their opinions, pain points or suggestions. A useful technique to practise active listening is to ask open-ended questions as it broadens the agenda of the conversation. For example, instead of asking “Did the meeting go well?”, try asking “How was the meeting?” as it shifts the conversation’s focus towards their perspective and concerns.
All successful leaders rely largely on their communication skills to delegate tasks and manage teams. If you want to step up your leadership effectiveness, start incorporating these communication behaviours into the conversations that you have with your employees or team members.