Improving Your Communication Skills As A Leader

by Mike O'Neill

No matter how fantastic your ideas are or how solid of a team you may have, you won’t be an effective leader without good communication skills. Communicating your goals and business mission with a team should be your absolute priority, but it’s not an easy skill to obtain. 

It may be difficult in emails for you to communicate intent and tone. You may not be able to see eye-to-eye with an employee on an issue. But learning ways to improve your interactions with your employees is one way you can get your message across and their buy-in. 

Luckily, you won’t need to change every little thing about every little interaction. We have a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to help you build up the communication skills you need to go from a good boss to a great leader.

Communicate With Purpose

You should always know what you want out of a conversation before going into it. If you’re looking for an answer to a question, it’s much better to simply ask a great question than beating around the bush with trying to tell your employees what you want to hear from them. 

It’s also important to recognize your employees might not see your conversation’s entire situation in the same way as you. They have a completely different perspective on everything, and by asking meaningful questions, they may reveal things you didn’t even consider.

Accepting this feedback, of course, is another crucial component of gaining good communication skills. When your employees offer you answers to questions or thoughts on a question or statement, it’s your duty to take what they say to heart and use it. By actually listening and respecting what is given to you, your employees are more likely to build up trust with you and believe in what you tell them.

Ultimately, this boils down to the fact that listening to your employees is significantly more important than speaking. Pay attention to how your employees speak with each other, and meet them where they are at. Use language they understand and avoid being overly-technical unless needed.

If you listen to your workplace culture and your employee feedback, you’re going to make an impact on your employees as a boss who cares and understands. 

If you want information from them about a situation, understanding that their answer may not be the one you want to hear is crucial for communication skills as is speaking or writing clearly.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Relationship Building

You can do little things within emails to improve relationships between you and your employees as well. If an employee shares something with you about their personal life, referencing back to it the next time you communicate to them is a fantastic way to show them you’re listening. 

If you have to discipline an employee, understand the importance of empathy. Again, your employee’s view of events is likely extremely different from your own. By treating your employee’s opinions and experiences as essential and being empathetic to their situations, you’re able to ensure they listen to what you say. 

For example, if an employee is late and you respond instantly by criticizing their performance, they’re less likely to care about being late next time since they don’t feel respected by you. 

If you open the conversation by asking if they’re okay and showing concern for their well-being, they will trust you and understand that the eventual reprimand for being late isn’t coming out of anger but out of worry for you and the company. How you approach communication can make or break an experience.

Do Better With Emails

We get it - sometimes it’s easy just to write the first thing that comes to mind when you’re sending off an email. If you focus on what’s inside the email, though, you’re able to change how people perceive you as their leader. 

First, understand you need to be positive. Remember emails last forever, and speaking out of anger can negatively impact you and how your employees perceive you should that email be shared. 

You also want to make sure you’re modeling the behavior you want to see. If you’re sending angry or bitter emails, your employees will communicate with you in the same way. If you’re empathetic, understanding, and kind, your employees will respect you and what it is you’re saying in those emails. 

Keep in mind that tone is hard to convey in an email. Be extremely clear with what you’re writing, and make sure there is little room for misinterpretation.

Power Tip: You can use tools like Loom to create quick videos that you can include in your emails. This gives you the ability to communicate tone and emotion and in some cases, is faster and easier than composing a lengthy email.

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