“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” James Humes
Good interpersonal skills are the hallmark of all great leaders. There is no leadership without effective communication. And those who possess the art of delivering thoughts and ideas in meaningful and befitting ways are those who are most successful.
No academic discourse or any business degree can teach you how to become a skillful communicator. It is self-taught and learned by exposing oneself to situations where interpersonal skills are tested the most. Regardless of which leadership style CEOs and managers adopt or have, delivering the right communication is a different matter altogether.
The best communicators are not only those who show the intent to listen to others, but also those who have incredible situational awareness and observation and problem-solving skills. Without being able to critically analyze, process the finer details and evaluate it holistically, leaders will not be able to communicate the “big picture” to their staff, and the business as a result will not grow as it should.
The following are a few ways leaders can uphold effective leadership communication:
Get personal—The positive value of any relationship intensifies the more emotions are involved. While it is important to have disciplined and professional relationships with your staff, it is also essential that leaders communicate with their staff using personalized tones and messages. Cultivating meaningful relationships is thus critical for leaders to communicate effectively.
Be specific—Leaders also need to practice ways of keeping their messages concise and to the point. There is nothing remarkable about making long speeches, if your staff cannot understand and remember half of the things you say. Business leaders are more pressed for time, and it can be very damaging if they do not deliver messages in a summarized and concise manner. The more summarized your messages are, the more clarity your staff will have.
Show empathy—“Leadership today is based on relationships built with trust, hope, love and encouragement,” Billy Cox. It is only natural that those vested with authority will exploit their position to show ego. That, however, is not the mark of a strong leader. A strong leader is one who can show empathy for his or her staff. Empathy contains the human element of compassion and care that can patch up emotional or psychological issues faced by employees in their work routines. Showing empathy means that you value human emotions and doing it enough can be precursor for influencing great motivation levels in your staff.
Demonstrate analytical reasoning—How well you analyze information and events is an important quality for a leader to have. What is more important is getting your employees to think like you and perceive things from your point of you. This does not necessarily mean that they have to agree with you; rather, it is about exercising one’s rational faculties to become better, data-driven staff that can achieve extraordinary results.
Leaders should ask employees to make their research and present their own analysis and solutions to a problem along with a case study, company/department objectives and conclusion. You can then ask a series of questions regarding how the business should quantify the solutions and how it can translate into long term business growth.
This is an important exercise to train your staff to think on their feet, appreciate their rational thinking and arrive at conclusions that can relate to worthwhile business strategies.
Listen and be silent—Listening with an open mind and out of genuine interest is one of the easiest ways to gain trust of your employees. By listening with a sincere heart, your employees feel valued and become encouraged to participate more closely with the activities of the organization. It sparks interest in your staff and allows them to be more at ease with their company culture.
Simon T. Bailey
Author, speaker and Brilliance Enabler
Bailey will be speaking at ISACA’s 2016 North America CACS conference 2-4 May 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
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