Leadership is built almost entirely on effective communication, and yet too many executives and managers don’t practice effective communication on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, leaders need to be “on” all the time. Bad days with poor communication can turn into bad communication habits. It’s important for leaders to keep vigilant when it comes to interacting with their workers.
Business leaders rarely have downtime. They normally go from meeting to conference call with little time in between. Regardless of whether you are talking to another manager, a client, or you’re in a company meeting, make a concerted effort to be engaged in active communication. Think about it: We often can tell when someone mentally drifts off when we are talking to them, and that feeling can be devastating when you are trying to communicate something of importance.
Often, being actively engaged in conversation means more listening than it does talking. As a leader, you may feel the tendency to show the way by vocalizing your thoughts. However, this type of proactive communication results in less listening, and therefore less learning from those around you.
Ask smart questions
Putting together a great team is pointless if you aren’t going to take advantage of their knowledge. Asking good questions of you team members allows you to tap into your team brain power. It also can give you insight into what your team is seeing and hearing on a daily basis.
Regularly asking questions of your team also makes your employees feel appreciated and it lets them know that you’re engaged in day-to-day details.
Boost your emotional intelligence
Psychology tells us there are many different kinds of intelligence: Logical intelligence, musical intelligence and interpersonal, or “emotional intelligence.”
People with high emotional intelligence are natural leaders. They know how to sense others peoples’ mood and intentions. They also know how to tailor their words and actions based on those around them.
Emotional intelligence isn’t necessarily something you’re born with. Like other kinds of intelligence, it’s something you can learn and grow. Raising your emotional intelligence means practicing being self-aware, disciplined, empathetic and keeping your cool in stressful or confrontational situations.
Working on this single aspect of communication is probably the most effective thing you can do as a leader.
Going hand-in-hand with emotional intelligence, bringing positivity to the workplace each day demands mental discipline and tenacity. However, positivity is contagious and you’ll find that putting in the effort to stay upbeat will pay benefits in the forms of a happier work environment and a greater ability to handle stressful situations.
Smile. Try to see the upside of every situation. Pause and think about what you are going to say when you get bad news instead of lashing out. Keep in mind that the tone of your voice and your posture convey a lot of information to your team.