As most successful managers know, skillful and consistent leadership communication is essential to motivating employees and increasing productivity. While many agree with this concept, not all managers are sure how to go about practicing this type of communication. Fortunately, there are several tips that can help just about any manager become a more effective communicator, and promote team building and leadership development among those employees in his or her charge.
One of the most important keys to better leadership communication is to realize that communication is a two-way street. This means that the manager must be very mindful of the verbiage he or she uses to convey ideas and concepts to employees. The choice of words should always carry an inherent appreciation for all the good things the employees already do, even when providing counsel on how to improve in areas where their performance is lacking. Keeping this in mind helps to convey that the employee is valued and that it is possible to become an even greater asset by working together.
While paying close attention to the phrasing used when interacting with employees, solid leadership communication also calls for active listening on the part of the manager. Active listening goes beyond simply hearing the words that are spoken. An active listener is also mindful of intonation, body language, and the general demeanor of the speaker. All these factors can often make it much easier to understand the meaning behind the words, and allow the manager to respond in a way that is productive and motivating.
Many managers fail to listen all the way until an employee is finished speaking. Instead, they begin to formulate a response while the employee is still talking. This is often a barrier to effective leadership communication, since the manager is likely to miss something important while not focusing attention on what the employee has to say. From this perspective, learning how to listen first, process data next, and finally to provide a response is extremely important to building an effective team effort in just about any business setting.
Offering specific feedback is very important. Many leadership communication seminars stress the need to let employees know when they are doing a good job. Unfortunately, many managers do not take the time to tell employees specifically what they are doing that is so good. Taking the time to compliment an employee on his his or her work on the new slide presentation, including the choice of graphics, is much more effective than generalities. This will likely encourage the employee to contribute more often when the team is presented with a challenge of some sort.
No leadership experience is complete without addressing the issue of conflict resolution. No matter how much employees like and respect a manager and the other members of the team, there will be times when disagreements take place. When this is the case, an effective leader must create an environment where all parties can respectfully vent their frustration with the conflict, articulate their positions in a way that does not attack the integrity of others, and eventually begin to understand the opposing point of view. The creation of this type of climate can make it much easier to not only resolve the conflict, but possibly forge closer ties that lead to newer and better solutions for the matter under discussion.
Solid leadership communication is important in organizations of every size. From a small local business to a multinational corporation, the development of solid leadership skills, including the ability to interact with others on the team, will go a long way toward determining if the business is just another place to work, or work that employees value.