Although leadership is often perceived as a skill in its own right, it is in fact comprised of several sets of skills that work together to create the inspirational personality of great leaders. Outstanding communication is one of the most essential and valuable sub-set of leadership skills, as being a great communicator can make all the difference between a manager and an effective leader. Below is an overview of the key communication skills that turn good leaders into great leaders.
Key communication skills for leaders
- Great leaders are strategists. This means that their communications are always targeted and personalised, and that any messages delivered to staff members and / or clients are part of a wider strategy that has clear aims and whose objectives are in line with organisational values.
- Great leaders are good listeners. Effective communication relies on four elements: getting people involved, providing information, leading by example, and listening to the input of others. Without listening skills, communication is reduced to a one-way channel that precludes effective leadership.
- Great leaders are able to find the right balance between consistency and flexibility. Effective leaders are perceived as reliable individuals whose messages are consistent and clear, yet when things don’t go as planned they are able to adapt their communicative strategy so that they achieve the same goals using different methods.
- The focus is on the receiver: great leaders have a genuine interest in the different communicative styles that different people may have and make an effort to focus on the other party’s needs rather than on their own priorities. Empathy is the key word here.
- Great leaders pay attention to self-communication, or the ongoing internal dialogue that provides valuable information about their attitude, mood, and other subtle elements that may affect the outcome of their communicative efforts.
Nowadays, many companies are investing in leadership training in order to improve the motivation and productivity of their staff, but as we have seen, it is important not to overlook the importance of excellent communication skills if the process of leadership development is to be effective in the long term.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional sales training courses and helps organisations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership skills training.