5 communication skills of effective leaders

Practice these strategies to go from good to great, and improve your relationship with your workforce.

Good leadership often hinges on the leader’s ability to be an effective communicator. It’s an essential skill necessary to motivate, inspire, train, and share ideas. It also says a lot about your leadership style and how other perceive you. So get a leg up by practising these strategies that will enhance your communication skills.

1. Learn the art of body language
As a leader it’s important you’re able to pick up and interpret other people’s nonverbal cues to understand the ‘truth’ of what they are saying. Body language is a true indication of a person’s feelings. Is their eye contact direct and steady? Are their hands folded in a defensive posture? Once you learn how to pick up nonverbal signs you can use this skills to gain the advantage in a whole host of scenarios. You can use it during meetings, negotiations, interviews, when making a pitch, etc. Once you’ve mastered the art of how to read body language you can also project it to effectively to exude confidence and signal leadership.

2. Tune in to the present
Whether you’re with a colleague, client, employee, boss or peer, it is important to be fully engaged. And complete engagement will only occur when you are fully in the present, giving your full attention to the conversation. Distractions and multiple demands are a given during any workday. It’s difficult to not think about that looming deadline, the negotiation coming up, or client complaint. But you need to make an effort to push them out so as to be engaged. If you’re distracted it will show in your behaviour and your speech. So be present to show the person that you care and are interested in investing in the conversation.

3. Practice attentive listening
We often get so caught up in what we’re going to say next we often don’t listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Try to listen more attentively to what is being said so as to pick up on details. You might learn something others might have missed or could help you find a solution for the complaint being discussed. Conversations are full of information and good leaders know the importance of truly listening to practise effective communication. They also often listen more than they speak, as they are constantly learning from those around them.

4. Cultivate intelligent conversations
One way of doing this is by listening attentively and asking appropriate questions to unearth more information, discover a solution, spark an idea, address a sensitive issue, etc. Asking questions signals you’re interested in the conversation and in building a health dialogue between you and your team. Open communication is key to building an efficient team. So leverage the talent around you by encouraging productive conversations and discussions, rather than issuing out orders.

5. Enhanced emotional intelligence
A high emotional quotient is a key factor in efficient leadership, and is an important part of leadership development. It helps leaders develop a flexible communication style and build strong relationships. They are precise when communicating their vision, instructions, expectations, etc, ensuring there’s no miscommunication. Also, their understanding and mastery of emotions facilitates empathy and self-management, making them better at dealing with pressurised situations.

Photograph: Pressfoto – 

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