How to be a good communicator
Communication is a vital skill for leaders. In order for organizations to be successful, their leaders must be able to effectively communicate with their employees. Leaders with good communication skills have the power to propel a business forward. To be an effective leader, you must also be a good communicator.
The most successful leaders refrain from using bad communication practices. Examples of bad communication include focusing on the negatives, invalidating another person’s feelings, being passive-aggressive, and using intimidation. These poor communication practices lead to ineffective communication. Ineffective communication in the workplace can lead to tension, low morale, and decreased productivity.
According to research by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 52% of employees said that poor communication leads to higher stress levels. This research also found that 31% of employees said poor communication causes them to miss their performance goals.
Effective leaders practice good communication by using two-way communication, offering positive feedback, showing empathy, and being direct but kind. Effective communication can increase motivation, employee morale, and performance.
Listening Is Leading
Two-way communication is when one party sends a message, the message is received by a second party, and then the second party returns a response.
As a leader, one of the most important steps in two-way communication is listening. It is important to listen to those with whom you are communicating. Show them you care about what they have to say. You do this by giving them your full attention and not interrupting them while they are talking.
Listening allows you to better understand the feedback you are receiving. This in turn increases the effectiveness of your communication.
Positive Feedback Leads to Productivity
Offering positive feedback is important. First, receiving positive feedback increases your followers’ confidence. It reinforces the feeling that they are doing something right while also showing that you notice their hard work.
Second, positive feedback makes people feel valued. When people feel valued they are more likely to be more productive.
In order to grow, people need to hear critical feedback. However, it is important to balance it with positive feedback. Critical feedback by itself can lead to decreased morale. Positive feedback can increase motivation, and increased motivation leads to increased productivity.
Empathy in the Workplace
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, “Empathetic leadership means having the ability to understand the needs of others, and being aware of their feelings and thoughts.” Showing empathy starts by listening to those around you.
You cannot understand someone’s emotions if you don’t listen to what they have to say. Being empathetic means you hear their needs. When you hear them, you can then provide them with the support they need. Showing empathy helps build meaningful relationships which can often increase productivity.
Be Direct but Be Kind
When communicating with employees, leaders have to be direct. You must be straightforward with your communication, but do not be bossy. People do not respond well to bossy know-it-alls. When being direct, give feedback gently while also showing grace. People are not perfect. They will make mistakes. When they make mistakes use that as an opportunity to help them grow.
Be intentional in developing good communication habits. They do not always come naturally. Building these good communication habits is vital for leaders. Good leaders have to be good communicators so they can lead others to be successful.
Peyton Thompson is a fifth-year senior and captain of the volleyball team at Charleston Southern University. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in organizational leadership.