How effective are you at communicating with your team? If you think there’s room for improvement, read on – it could make all the difference to your success as a leader.
Good communication is hard to define – if you ask 10 people what it is, they'll probably all give you different answers. But we all recognise good communication when we experience it and we all know when we’re in the presence of a good communicator. Effective leadership communication makes us feel confident and empowered. It inspires us to try harder and it produces excellent results.
Whether you’re brainstorming ideas with your group, delegating responsibilities, setting expectations or making your team aware of problems they may have to solve, how you communicate will have a powerful impact on the outcome. So, for those team leaders amongst you who want to achieve the very best results from your team, we’ve put together an essential guide of six techniques and strategies for positive and successful communication at all levels.
We all need to feel appreciated, and this is particularly important in the workplace. People need more reason than just money to do their best for you every day. If your team don’t feel you appreciate their efforts, their motivation and productivity will suffer.
The answer? Show them they matter. Let every member of your team know that you’re grateful for the unique contribution they make. If someone does a good job, congratulate them for it. Remember - a little appreciation goes a long way. Everyone finds it easier and more rewarding to work for someone who notices and supports them in what they do.
Different situations often call for different communication techniques. A medium that is appropriate for one thing might be completely unsuitable for something else and, as a leader, it’s essential to know the difference. This way, you’ll always be able to communicate effectively with your team.
For example, we all know how valuable it is to be able to send out a mass text or voice message to your employees, especially when you’re busy. This is ideal for situations where everyone needs the same information at once, like notifying them of a last-minute meeting change. But issues that are more complex, such as discussing the scope of a new project, need a more personal means of communication. This is the only way you can be sure everyone has understood and has a good grasp of their own individual responsibilities.
Choosing the right medium from the outset can save you time, money and a lot of problems further down the line.
What is the ultimate vision of your organisation? When was the last time you shared this vision with your team?
People feel motivated when they know they’re working towards a common goal. It encourages a sense of loyalty to the company and makes them work better as a team. This is why it’s essential that every single one of your staff understands exactly what your organisation is aiming to achieve and what part they're playing in making this happen.
By sharing this vision with your team and making each one of them realise they are essential to its success, you will boost their enthusiasm and self-esteem. This can lead to powerful results for everyone involved and the organisation as a whole.
People can only take in so much information at once. The more words you use, the greater the chance that some of your message will get lost along the way.
Whether you’re speaking or writing, it’s important to think about the words you’re using and choose them carefully. Often the most effective leadership communication is about getting all the essential points across in as few words as possible. This makes every message easier for your team to understand and it'll save you time as well.
When it comes to leadership communication skills, often what you don’t say can be just as important as what you do say. Your team won’t feel you are approachable if every time they try to speak to you, you interrupt or talk over them.
An important part of motivating your team is encouraging people to share their ideas with you and make you aware of any problems so they can be resolved. This means they should feel like you're listening to them when they speak. Knowing when to stay silent and let others do the talking will make you a much more effective communicator and a far better leader.
Your team members are all different. Some will feel more comfortable talking to you than others. There will be times when you need to ask questions to draw out the information you need from your employees to help you get the best out of your workforce.
This doesn’t mean you should make them feel as if they’re being interrogated. There are friendly and conversational ways to ask questions, and this is something every good leader needs to know how to do. Different types of questions work for different situations. If you only need a “yes” or “no” answer, a closed question such as “Are you enjoying this project?” is fine. If a more detailed and meaningful answer is needed, you can ask an open-ended question like, “What do you think is the best way of achieving this goal?”
Ultimately, your communication style as a leader will be very much your own, but it’s important to remember that good communication is a great motivator. It will empower your team and produce better results for your business.
If you would like to find out more about good leadership communication and the various tools you can use, please get in touch with our team – we’ll be happy to help.