Communication is a critical characteristic that a leader must possess to ensure business success. Why? Without communication skills, a leader is unable to foster positive engagement, enhance motivation and produce innovative ideas from their employees. When leaders have the inability to communicate effectively, the result often leads to a negative working environment. This, in turn, can cause the business to spiral downhill and therefore prohibit growth and success. Being a great communicator isn’t always easy, but one that must remain a priority. Sound leadership communication has numerous benefits. It is fundamental to achieving better productivity levels, increasing employee morale and creating an energetic and stimulating work environment.
Be trustworthy and transparent
An employee’s relationship with their leader should be one that is built on trust and transparency. When trust is instilled in the working environment, your employees are more willing to embrace your direction and vision for the future. Being a transparent leader, with no hidden intentions, allow your employees to feel comfortable and secure. Increased employee morale permits higher levels of productivity and motivation to yield better results.
Be fair and objective
Successful leaders shy away from favoritism. Your goal should provide a support system that aims at achieving goals and objectives through teamwork. Situations do often arise where employees are more confident than others or able to produce superior results. However, that does not denote that they are be-and-end-all of a businesses forefront to excellence. To be a great leader, you should encourage all employees, in a fair and objective way, to work together and bring about the best possible strategies to cultivate a successful business. It’s about inspiring action and driving the same vision by all!
Positive working relationships are also built on respect. Work environments today are of a diverse nature; differing genders, ages, cultures, and experiences. Each individual has something unique to bring to the businesses operation. Be mindful of employee’s opinions by respecting their input, whether good or not. Value and praise them for their contributions. This, in turn, enhances employees to increase their desires to bring more creative and innovative ideas to the table.
Lead by example
Being a great leader is not enough to tell your employees how things should be done, but to actually show them. If you want your employees to be organized, attentive, punctual, professional or provide awesome customer service, you should be able to display those same qualities. Leading by example is displayed when sending the right message to your employees through your own interaction and behavior.
Case Study: Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, made it a priority to instill his managers with top-notch communication skills. His approach was simple; training managers to communicate using language that was understood in a basic way. He found that employees produced better results when knowledge of work required was coherent, fair and attainable.
Be an effective listener
Leaders that don’t listen don’t actually learn anything. Great leaders are intrinsically aware when to pipe it down, turn it up and at times turn it off. Leaders that don’t make listening to an important aspect of their communication style, run the risk of creating unnecessary problems and misunderstandings. It is a must to be able to effectively engage with your employees. You want to be an approachable leader whereby employees are able to interactively voice their concerns and ask questions. Learn to be attentive and patient with your employees, so that the working environment runs in a smoother fashion. Being an effective listener allows you to give better direction to employees when performance is low and targets are not being achieved. This also entails you to be able to read body language, changing mood and tone behaviors. Don’t wait until the businesses operation begins to decline to start listening. Feedback and support open the door to improving the growth of your business.
Case Study: Michelle Peluso, CEO of Gilt Groupe, prides herself on giving her employees the chance of being heard 24/7. She invites her employees to email her at any time regarding any issues and makes it a priority to respond to them within 24 hours, whether she is at the office or not. Michelle goes out of her way to chat with employees during lunch hours to further strengthen communication ties.
Provide proper information and explain
The more information employees have, the more they increase their ability to comprehend the work at hand as well as to allow your employees to contribute in a more effective and efficient manner. If you want to challenge employees or produce innovative changes, it is not sufficient to just state so. You need to reach out and provide information that exactly explains what you want from them. Employees are not magically able to come up with meeting your desires without accurate articulation of your objectives and goals. Be specific and solid in your approach!
When leaders are able to exhibit effective communication skills they promote an engaging working environment and in turn reap amazing outcomes. Communication is not a one-way street. It is one that enhances an employee’s capacity to move forward and produce better results. Communication is not about your position as a leader, nor is it about your own opinions. It’s about getting messages across in a positive way to enrich your companies operation. So, live by the same rules you expect of others. Be a leader that walks the talk!