Good communication is essential throughout an enterprise, but especially in leadership positions. It’s a leader’s job to provide information about the mission and vision you’re trying to accomplish, but also to motivate people to collaborate and work toward a common goal. This is a lofty duty, one that leaders must work toward every day.
It’s important to realize that executive communication is so much more than what you say. Truly effective leadership communication is just as much about listening, understanding your workers, and being emotionally intelligent. But how can you improve these areas?
Be Personal and Engaging
People like the idea that someone is talking with them, and not at them. Think of how you communicate with the rest of your company – is it a series of corporate communications and decrees, or are they actually conversations? If your answer is the former, it’s time to turn your monologue into a dialogue. When your conversations become more engaging and personal, they’ll naturally become more effective. While business theory may tout the notion that you should keep all employees at an arm’s length, this is an aging idea. Developing meaningful relationships with those around you will develop trust and help the whole operation run more smoothly.
Be Emotionally Intelligent
Emotional intelligence is a necessary quality for an effective leader. You can’t effectively describe it in only one context, but it’s a combination of self-awareness, empathy, calm under pressure, and discipline. Some people still dismiss it as a “soft” leadership quality, but it’s absolutely essential in creating a network of good communication. Keep in mind that not all of these competencies are innate; you must hone many over time. Thankfully, executive coaching can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in this regard, developing the latter.
Be Empathetic, Not Egotistical
Many people come into their leadership position by possessing certain traits like self-confidence, drive, and assurance. However, these qualities can also come off as ego to some people – namely, your workers. Don’t let your ego set you apart from the crowd. Instead, work on developing empathy and caring principles. Communicators who empathize with a situation are more likely to create positive results. By using transparency and authenticity, you can turn tense interactions into those driven by mutual respect.
Learn to Read Between the Lines
Think of famous leaders throughout history – Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt – and you’ll find that they were just as good at hearing what wasn’t said. Since we live in an age of instant communication, we tend to rush to communicate our point of view instead of observing others. When you keep your eyes open and your mouth shut, you may be surprised how much you learn about your organization – and everyone’s place in it.
Good communication isn’t always easy – in fact, most of us have to work to improve it. Consider hiring an executive coach to help you hone your leadership communication skills. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn and how it will impact your whole organization.