Imagine the best leaders in the world. Think of people like Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, or Winston Churchill. Now, imagine a world where these leaders lacked good communication skills. Would they have been able to make the kind of difference they did? Certainly not. This is because communication as a leader makes all the difference.
Leaders can have the best ideas in their heads. However, unless they express these ideas well and can effectively pass on their messaging to others, they can seldom rise and make any tangible difference. But that is not the only reason why communication skills are important. There is a lot more to this story.
What Are Verbal and Non-verbal Communication Skills?
Most people focus too much on verbal communication skills and they ignore non-verbal communication skills. The two are different, but equally important for leadership. Here is the difference between the two.
|Verbal Communication Skills||Non-Verbal Communication Skills|
|Uses language, sentences, and words as a medium for communication||Uses body language, facial expression, and tone as a means of communication|
What Is the Role of Communication in Leadership?
Leaders can make or break an organization. Similarly, they can lead a country or an organization to both success and failure. When leaders fulfil their primary and secondary responsibilities, they do the latter. Leadership is important for several reasons. Here are some responsibilities of a leader.
- To ensure the day-to-day activities of the organization are managed.
- To ensure the right people for the right job are hired.
- Ensure tasks and goals are delegated properly.
- To ensure the number of conflicts within the workplace is minimized.
- To ensure, good behaviour is validated, and bad behaviour is discouraged.
Why Is Communication an Essential Skill for Effective Leadership?
For some leaders, communication skills help them put their message across and hence get access to more followers. For others, it helps them carry out certain strategies and plans. There are many other reasons why leadership needs good communication skills. Here are some.
1. Increases Employee-Leader Bond
Imagine two people having a conversation. Now imagine that the person giving a command is unable to communicate their message. How would this affect the relationship between the two? It will most probably lead the person receiving the message to make mistakes and not fulfil a particular task assigned to them. This is why good communication skills are necessary. This help makes the messaging between the boss and the employee clearer.
2. Allows Leaders to Set Clear Goals
Leaders, who are clear in their heads and know what they expect from their employees, need to perfect their communication skills. This helps them clear and communicate specific goals to specific teams. The chances of errors are reduced, and more accountability can be achieved. The employees can not now say that they were unable to complete a task because they did not ‘understand what was asked of them’.
3. Instills a Positive Environment in the Office
When leaders are expressive and can communicate well, it not only builds trust in leadership, but also instills positivity in the fabric of the environment. It reduces the chances of conflict between different teams and different parties. Additionally, communicative leaders tend to encourage others to do the same. This ensures that conflicts, even when they arise, are resorted too efficiently.
4. Prevents Mixed Messages From Leaders
Employees need to be aware of the mood of the leaders. When leaders are happy with everyone, they should try to validate good behavior. Similarly, when leaders are upset, they should be expressive of their discomfort and anger. This is important because it creates an incentive for the team members to work well. Leaders that do not have a strong grip on their language often tend to send the wrong message. This leads to a lot of confusion and mix-messaging in the office.
5. Allows for Difficult, but Important Conversations
Leaders that shy away from difficult conversations end up creating long-lasting problems for themselves. This is also one of the reasons why leaders fail in their role of leadership. When leaders can command a language well and know their boundaries, they can also have complex arguments and conversations without taking anything personally. This also ensures that passive aggression and defensiveness are minimized in the workplace.
6. Makes Leaders Approachable
A leader that does not communicate well and is not able to express their choice will make themselves unapproachable. Their team members or associates are unable to connect with them. This creates a gap between the two parties and makes the office environment hostile. On the other hand, expressive leaders allow others to reach out to them and share their feelings. This also facilitates idea-sharing in the workplace.
7. Increase Accountability for Leaders
Leaders that share their plans, their principles, and their opinions on issues open themselves up to criticism and appreciation. Anytime they stand in line with their principles, they are appreciated and anytime they stand against their principle, they tend to be criticized. In the long run, this is a good thing because it ensures the leaders not only talk the talk, but also walk the talk.
How to Enhance Your Verbal and Non-verbal Communication Skills?
1. Be Your Authentic Self
Before you inculcate any good personality trait in yourself, the first thing you need to do is be authentic. Know yourself and do not deny the things you lack. The worst thing leaders do is live in a bubble and are not truthful with themselves. If you have difficulty expressing difficult ideas or communicating difficult things, accept it first, everything else will follow later.
2. Develop a Strong Leadership Bond With Others
The next thing you need to do is work on your relationship building. Leaders that shy away from networking and do not develop stronger bonds with others are at a disadvantage. Without strong and effective relationships, you do not have people who will give you room when you make mistakes. Having loyal people around you gives you enough space to learn from trial and error.
3. Develop Trust in Leadership
Another important thing to do is develop trust in leadership. Now, this is a long process that requires a conscious effort. You have to pay attention to others and open up a little. This enhances the bond between leaders and employees. It also makes the employees trust the word and actions of their leader.
4. Prioritize Active Listening
When people focus on communication skills, they mostly focus on speaking skills. Research indicates that active listening is just as important. Individual leaders that pay attention to the concerns of others and show a helping hand end up creating stronger bonds. Additionally, this ensures the employees that their leader is not a narcissist and is not obsessed with talking, but will also listen to others.
5. Show People Sympathy and Empathy
Apart from listening to other individuals, it is also important that you show sympathy and empathy to others. When people come to you with genuine issues and concerns, do not push them away, and make sure you are there to help them out. Go out on a limb if you have to, but do not dismiss other people and their genuine concerns.
6. Exercise Clarity in Your Speech
People that say exercise makes perfect are not lying. Any flaw or shortcoming, no matter how serious, can be fixed with just a little bit of practice. If you are an emerging leader, aiming for a leadership position in your firm, start practicing your speech and your verbal communication patterns. You can start by writing down a speech and then practicing it in front of a mirror.
7. Allow Others to Ask Questions
Many organizations discourage dissent and disagreement. Leaders often have a fear-based leadership style and do not allow others to ask questions. This makes the entire environment of the office hostile and discourages creativity. As a result, it makes individuals within a team act in mundane ways and not put in the effort to think out of the box.
8. Allow For Feedback and Constructive Criticism
This may seem counterintuitive to leadership. Most people would not want their associates or team members commenting on their leadership style or their plans. However, secure leaders follow a participative and democratic leadership style where they allow others to criticize their plans. This helps the organization reach the best decision possible.
9. Maintain an Open-Ended Conversation
Open-ended questions and conversations widen the parameters of any debate and ensure that everyone can think outside the box. It also ensures that all aspects of a particular plan or goal can be covered. This helps leaders take holistic decisions and not make petty errors. Additionally, it allows individuals to make a foolproof plan-one that has gone through a lot of detailed planning.
10. Maintain a Positive Body Language
You may think that communication skills only involve what you say. In most instances, what you say is not very important, it is important ‘how you say it’. This is because most people will pay attention to your tone, the rise, and fall in your speech, and then analyze your words. For leaders that want to up their game, maintaining positive body language is essential.
Enhance Your Communication Skills With Best Diplomats
Often times, improving one’s communication skills can seem like a huge burden. You may feel overburdened by the task. However, you do not have to worry because you can now participate in a world-class training program at Best Diplomats and learn effective communication skills.
Best Diplomats can help you up your game in three ways. For starters, it allows you to meet and engage with people from all around the world. Next, it increases your networking and makes you experience the ways of different cultures. Lastly, it gives you a platform where you can voice your opinions and generate meaningful discourse.
You may have all the necessary qualities of a great leader. You may have the potential of being someone amazing, but without good communication skills, you may never be able to rise above your situation. If you want to be a game changer and make a tangible impact within your surroundings, you must pay heed to our words and inculcate all the above suggestions in your personality. You will soon see the difference.
How do Great Leaders Communicate?
Great leaders use a mixture of great speech and open body language to put their points across. Look at the styles of famous world leaders in history, and you will notice that these individuals not only mastered the art of public speaking, but also had great articulation skills. They always had just the right words and expressions to communicate.
Why Are Listening Skills Important for Leaders?
Listening helps individuals make sense of the world around them. For leaders, it is essential to listen well because this will help shape their opinion about the world. They will not only be able to decipher complex mysteries, but will also be able to analyze difficult scenarios much more holistically.
Which Leadership Style Promotes Good Communication Skills?
Two of the best leadership styles that facilitate and require good communication skills are participative leadership and democratic leadership. Both these styles require individuals to involve others in the decision-making process. This involves leaders having to share strategies, vision, and mission of the organization well.
What Are the Harms of Poor Communication Skills?
Having poor communication skills will make you an unpopular leader in your organization. If you do not have the right words and the right expression for your ideas, you will not be able to convince others of your strategy or your plan. Moving ahead will create confusion in the minds of others and will ultimately hold you back from fulfilling your potential.