, Business Tips, Leadership, Professional Development

Most Valuable Leadership Skills: Communication

Being a great leader starts with the four most valuable leadership skills. The first being the ability to communicate well with others. Think about the leaders in your own life. Do they generally stand up for themselves and those around them? Do they make an effort to communicate with you in a manner that you best receive the information? Are they generally unafraid to take the leap and have the tough conversations to make a better environment for everyone involved? We are hoping this is the case because these skills are crucial to leading in a business environment.

Communication seems like it is a given but we always need to put into practice the most elementary skills in our lives. We must continue to ‘work those muscles’ to make sure they stay in tip-top shape in efficiency and our ability to lead those around us.

Think for a minute about your work environment. Are there co-workers who absolutely must have their morning cup of coffee before being able to digest a long conversation? What about someone who just cannot stand Monday mornings? What about the employee who freezes over phone calls? Or perhaps someone who loves being able to hear the tone of your voice in a phone call over interpreting it through an email? Keeping in mind these communication quirks when coming up with a plan to communicate with those in your work environment could be very important in effective conversation. Maintaining notes on different communication styles is a great idea for keeping an office of happy people who are on the same page.

The urgency and importance of the message is huge in deciding what method of communication to use. Sometimes, the message might be something urgent that we feel could be shot out through a quick email. In reality, the urgency might make it very heavy for those on the receiving end and something that should have been delivered in a sit down meeting. Although there are many modes of communication, that doesn’t mean every one of them is the best choice for every form of message.

Remembering not to let hard conversations brew for too long is something many individuals struggle with. Most of us know that after a hard conversation is over, we feel much better but we still struggle to get to the conversation. Remind yourself that the ultimate goal of a hard conversation is to arrive at a positive resolution. This is helpful in getting those hard to communicate feelings out.

Much of our communication comes through our body language. We have all heard it but it is tough to remember. Remember smiling, good posture, nodding of the head, appropriate eye contact, and mirroring expressions are all tools in practicing good body language.

A couple of negative body signals are the arms crossed on the chest, which is a defensive or closed off posture. Clasping the hands behind the back gives the vibe of being bored, anxious, or even angry. Tapping or fidgeting with fingers makes it seem that the person is bored, impatient, or frustrated. Simple gestures like this can give these impressions while the feeling may not actually be present and sometimes these gestures are unconscious. Be sure to be in tune with the way you hold yourself when communicating with others.

Have you intentionally put any of these tips into practice?  If so, how did those around you respond?