We all know how important communication is to the success of an organization and its members, yet we tend to take communication for granted. Each day, we talk to co-workers, customers, family, and friends without thinking too much about whether our communication is successful.
If you want to be an effective leader, you need to excel in communication. In fact, the success of your business relies on it. Good communication can lead to success, but poor communication can lead to disagreements, faulty work, delayed performance, and industrial or business accidents. At an individual’s level it can lead to low morale, missed performance goals, and even lost sales.
According to the Project Management Institute, up to 56% of projects success can be at risk due to poor communication in an organization. This is why any leader in an organization should foster good communication skills.
Good communications skills enables leaders to rally their team around a shared vision, empower employees, build trust, and successfully navigate organizational change. They promote collaboration among team members and between teams and they increase the productivity of team members.
So, how can a leader foster good communication skills?
Start by caring about the other person: To have great communication skills, you have to start with caring for the other person. Caring means that you are focused on leaning in the direction of the other person, so they can successfully understand what you’re saying. This happens by understanding how they receive information, being calm and polite, focused and interested, and matching the mood or emotion of the situation.
Be a willing and active listener: We were given one mouth and two ears for a reason. As leaders we are to talk less and listen more. Do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking. Active listening means that you retain what someone tells you and understand the message they are relaying. Through active listening, you are able to provide valuable responses and ensure your team members feel understood and heard when they speak with you.
Adapt to meet the different types of communication: Not everyone in the workplace communicates in the same way, and good leaders must be able to adapt to meet the different types of communication that their team members prefer. Being adaptable allows you to adjust your communication to ensure that each team member understands you and that you understand them.
Be aware of nonverbal communication: People can communicate using body language, reactions and facial expressions. Leaders must also know how to effectively communicate nonverbally. Practice matching your nonverbal communication to your verbal communication. Stand up straight and make eye contact while speaking to convey positive, confident communication.
Be simple and direct in your communications so that people can get what you say and what you mean: Say what you mean. Be direct. Don’t hide behind complexity or pile on a ton of information. Simple communication can be smart communication.
Ask questions to gain an understanding: Questioning is all about gaining perspective to better understand. Asking questions also shows people that you’re interested in them and you’re listening, which builds a lot of trust. Practice asking questions. The more you do it…the better you’ll get.
These simple tips will help you in becoming an effective leader. Take them and put them to practice.