Communicating… Like a Leader
Seven Keys to Great Interpersonal Leadership in the Workplace
Communication is the key to any relationship. We often talk about how important communication is when it comes to friendships, romantic relationships, and family dynamics. It’s just as important to have great communication skills with our work partners – in fact, our livelihoods depend on it. So, why not put more emphasis on our interpersonal dynamics? Here are 7 keys to great communication skills to help you at communicating like a leader:
1. Be Open and Honest. This should go without saying, but tell the truth. Being honest creates trust, and without trust you have nothing but a disjointed team. Also, be open. While you don’t need to tell your team everything (and it’s prudent not to), they need to feel like they’re in the loop. I believe in being translucent with my team. I give them enough information to make informed decisions, rather than being transparent, which can overwhelm folks with more information than is helpful.
2. Sometimes silence is key. Communication is a two-way street and you have to take the time to watch and actively listen. That means not thinking ahead to how you’re going to respond and absorbing a team member’s body language and tone of voice in addition to the words they’re speaking. 1UP: Over 90% of communication is non-verbal, so make sure you’re watching for things like openness, defensiveness, aggressiveness, and all of the other -nesses out there.
3. Be Open-Minded. In addition to not thinking ahead, we need to enter conversations without attachment – to specific outcomes or points of view. If you want a successful relationship with your team members, it’s crucial to show willingness to hear what they say and be open to changing your mind.
4. Be Friendly. This is another one that should go without saying, but be friendly. Nobody wants to work with or for someone who isn’t. Plus, that old saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar is true – you’ll accomplish more if you treat people with kindness. Be the boss you wish you had, and act with empathy.
5. Choose Logic. Just like any other type of relationship, working relationships can get emotional. In order to maintain a safe work environment, choose logic-based communication over emotion-based communication whenever possible. This can be tough to do at times (we’re not robots!), so if you find yourself getting emotional, hit pause on the conversation and come back to it later. 1UP: Factually-led arguments tend to win when in contention with emotionally-led arguments, so make sure you’ve done your research before heading into a big chat.
6. Speak with Confidence. You’re more likely to persuade somebody to see (and even adopt) your point of view if you speak with confidence. Said differently, people are more likely to believe you if you believe yourself. 1UP: For an extra boost of confidence, change your body posture. Holding your body in a power pose can literally change the way you think and feel about yourself.
7. Give Positive Constructive Feedback. When it’s appropriate, give feedback, and always make it positive. Constructive criticism isn’t usually particularly constructive and Radical Candor can be an excuse to, pardon my French, be an asshole. The best way to help someone grow is to be giving, open, and keep it positive.
We spend the majority of our days with the people we work with. It’s time to treat them like people we spend the majority of our days with – and put the effort into communicating honestly, succinctly, and with an extra dose of empathy. Your work life will thank you for it.
There you have 7 keys to great communication. Do you have any tips for communicating like a leader? Let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and for more ways communicating like a boss can be useful check out my blog on delegating. Be sure to check out my podcast!