Ways Leaders Can Improve Communication Skills
Businesses rely on great communication to thrive. If team members don’t know how to connect with each other, share ideas, or express their feelings, then collaboration simply can’t happen. Unfortunately, not everyone naturally has excellent communication skills from the moment they move into a leadership role.
While all managers and supervisors strive to say the right thing every time, it can be difficult to convey information with the right tone – particularly when it comes to offering constructive criticism, giving feedback, or attempting to push a team in a certain direction. The good news is that there are a few ways that leaders can overcome some of their communication hurdles.
Handle Criticism Delicately
Leaders need to feel comfortable giving out criticism when necessary to help their subordinates become better at their jobs. However, they also need to be careful not to put too much of a negative spin into their language, as this can end up harming motivation, instead of improving productivity. Handling issues delicately and balancing negative comments with positive ones can help to keep a business moving in the right direction.
For instance, a leader might say “We’re doing well overall guys, but numbers are a little short in this region.”. This way, they’re addressing what the team has done right while motivating them to try harder in other areas.
Focus on Solutions, not Problems
When there are issues to address in a business environment, it’s important not to get too bogged down in a problem. While leaders need to be able to address the situation carefully and make their team aware of the issue, they should also create a communication environment where people feel comfortable coming together and offering potential resolutions for the situation at hand.
Rather than simply telling a team that they haven’t done well with a particular project, a great leader inspires their colleagues to solve the issue. For instance, they might say: “Our numbers aren’t meeting targets in region X- what can we do about that? Let’s crack this problem.” Leaders will have their own suggestions to offer, but they’ll also give their team space to be creative and provide answers too.
Communication is a 2-Way Street
Finally, one of the most important things that leaders can learn about communication is that it goes both ways. A leader in a company will expect their team to listen carefully and take their comments to heart during conversations. In the same way, the best leaders also know that they need to pay attention to the expectations and comments of their colleagues.
Great leaders create a culture of open communication, where employees know that they can offer feedback, make comments, and ask questions when necessary. Great leaders take the messages they get from their employees into consideration, and they don’t take criticism to heart. Instead, they use what they learn from their employees to make important changes to their work ethics and habits and transform the business into a more productive place.