“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” — Gilbert Amelio, President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp
Effective communication skills is one of the most powerful tools for effective leadership. Great leaders and successful executives need to be able to communicate to employees, customers, potential customers, and also set the standard for their leadership team. A company that does not rely on good communication may experience high employee turnover and a lapse in revenues due to disconnected employees and an unformulated mission.
A few skills that can ensure more successful and effective communication:
Authenticity – Ensuring that your actions follow your words and promises is one of the most important steps to establishing communication with employees. They need to trust their executives and leadership teams and will be quick to judge what is perceived as a lack of authenticity or double standard.
You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere. — Lee Iacocca
Simplicity – Inspiring your employees and sharing both the overall vision for companies and employee’s goals requires the ability to personalize and simplify the message. Overuse of statistics and technical terms may cause employees to tune out what you are saying. Drill down to what is important for them to know and allow passion to come through your message as well. Simplicity should also translate into the message that you share with your customers.
Listen Well – Communication is a two way street. Listening often and listening well gives executives and leadership great insight to what is really going on with employees and throughout the company. Pay close attention when employees are sharing with you and “listen with your eyes”, noting body language. Are employees telling you what you want to hear or do they share freely knowing their leadership has an open door and open communication policy?
“Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of their subordinates and who are receptive even to bad news will be properly informed. Communicate downward to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors.” — L. B. Belker
Visibility and Frequency – Establishing good communication habits begins with visibility of leadership and an open door policy. Employees may feel frustrated if there are not opportunities to vent, ask questions, share ideas, or understand the direction of a project. Productive meetings that have a question and answer session and encourage employees to share openly are a benefit to executives and leadership teams. If there is a problem with your product or message, your employees will notice it first. Outline communication channels clearly so that employees have multiple opportunities to connect publicly and privately.
The adage of do unto others as you would have done to you applies to communication as well. What do you value when communicating with your teams and employees? What skills do you count as most effective? Apply that across the board in your own communications to ensure success and great feedback.
Fire Power Seminars has communication and empowerment seminars available for executives and leadership teams to enhance and inspire new levels of effective communication. For more information about empowerment, team building and transformation, contact Karen at 954.232.4486 or Karen@FirePowerSeminars.com