by Dawn Lianna, ed2go Instructor
We’ve all been on teams that had amazing leaders — and teams whose leaders were not so great. What is it that makes a great leader? Excellent communication skills is one trait. Whether you’ve recently stepped into a leadership role or have dreams of doing so in the future, communication is one of the top soft skills you should work on.
Great leaders are great communicators. So how can you improve this skillset? Read on for the most effective communication strategies for leaders.
1. Build Team Spirit
Great leaders motivate and empower the members of their team — and they always believe in them. They nurture the talents and strengths of others through support. Staff members who are well placed according to their skills, interests, and learning priorities are happy and productive.
A successful leader serves the good of the team. They know how to create a unified vision. They help team members achieve their individual goals, while also working toward those of the larger organization.
2. Think Big!
Great leaders know that all systems are interconnected and help create working relationships between different teams and departments. They check their decisions and consider both the short- and long-term consequences. By looking at the organization holistically, an effective leader can facilitate communication strategies in the workplace that create cohesion.
3. Value Diversity
Great leaders are open minded and accepting. They educate themselves on different cultures to better understand the unique demographic groups represented in their organization. A good leader strives to create an environment where team members can freely exchange ideas based on mutual respect, awareness, and honesty.
4. Establish Clear Guidelines
When boundaries and guidelines are clearly stated, each person knows what to expect. Strong leaders inform people about which rules are flexible and which are firm and give the reasons for both. They provide options when possible and balance structure with spontaneity.
Great leaders establish priorities for themselves and their team. They set deadlines and time frames and they know how to clearly communicate their expectations to their team members.
5. Use Empathy When Dealing with Challenging People
Effective communication strategies always start with empathy. Successful leaders know how to deal with challenging people and concerns. When a leader is able to treat even the most challenging clients with respect and dignity, it creates a safety net around your organization.
An effective leader is compassionate, and understands the qualities and challenges of others. They follow through with what they say, which builds trust and sets a credible example for others.
6. Be Flexible
A good leader is flexible and encourages mobility within the organization, based on skills. Great leaders know how to use the skills, preferences, and learning styles of each team member. They know when to delegate and who to choose for each task. They use people’s skill sets effectively.
An effective leader may use one primary style of leadership, but they are flexible enough to shift their focus when the situation calls for a different style.
7. Problem Solve
Communication for leadership success always involves problem solving. Skilled leaders stay calm and know how to listen to others during a crisis. They also utilize their team members’ own strengths to brainstorm the best solutions to challenges.
Knowing how to divvy out critical tasks and clearly explain them makes it easier for team members to complete assignments.
8. Reinforce Positive Behaviors
Great leaders reinforce positive behaviors through encouragement, appreciation, and vocal support. They carefully choose their words and rewards in a way that is meaningful to each person.
Some people appear to be born leaders. They seem to have a magical ability to influence others with charisma. A successful leader may have natural talent, but he or she has learned how to share that talent with others through positive and effective communication techniques. Invest in yourself: Start learning the skills of effective communication and leadership today!
Ready to build up your leadership communication strategies? Check out Dawn Lianna’s six-week course Keys to Effective Communication.
About Dawn Lianna:
Dawn holds a Master’s degree in counseling and psychology. She has an extensive teaching career, having taught courses and workshops on communication, stress management, natural health, and therapy skills to capacity audiences. She is also the author of five books and numerous articles on counseling and personal development.