Effective leadership and communication skills

Good leaders practice leadership and effective collaboration when they listen and observe while taking notes and making appropriate adjustments to cues. Some of us do not emote as much as others, but we must make an effort. I have a tendency to not express empathy even though I do feel it inside. It is not a good habit, and with practice, I am improving. If you are like me, then make small steps to demonstrate to others that you care. This could be through writing cards, using caring words, demonstrating positive, empathetic actions, and other ways of expressing positive empathy. Just don't be facetious because anyone can see right through it and will respect you much less. Active listening involves reflecting new information before expressing personal views. It means to use verbal and nonverbal means to inform the speaker that you are paying attention.

Leaders must create a sense of shared understanding, where one shares necessary information with others, meaning peers as well as employees. So many times, leaders get caught up in their knowledge and feel it's essential to somehow hide it from others when it could be seen as a breach of trust. Unless you are working with the CIA, you do not have secret information that a clandestine operative has. You are likely working for one of the many great organizations this global economy has to offer. Sometimes it is indeed essential to protect confidential information; however, make sure you include that of your employees.

If you have plans, keep others at higher and lower elements informed and peers as well, especially if you are in a flat hierarchy so that everyone can adjust their strategies accordingly. Remember, if only you understand your thoughts and ideas, you will not communicate clearly and effectively. When I was in graduate school for organizational leadership, I was taught to UN-learn the writing methodology I was taught during my undergraduate studies. I had to learn that long words and jargon are actually hurtful as a leader. If I understand them and no one else does, then I will come across as pretentious, ineffective, and overall useless. As a leader, you are trying to communicate in a utilitarian manner to reach the highest amount of people. If you sense there is a potential for miscommunication, take corrective action, clarify, and use an appropriate means for communicating the message. If you feel like your message involves a lot of detail, then use an email to deliver it or a memo, then follow up with the person you're trying to communicate with to clarify. Do these things and you are well on your way to developing effective listening and leadership!

When you speak to whoever you are leading, you should state goals that energize others to adapt and act on them. That involves speaking with enthusiasm to maintain a listener's interest and involvement. Additionally, make appropriate eye contact when speaking, but do not staring unnecessarily and scare them. When making appropriate gestures, don't exaggerate them to seem comical, but also do not be afraid of using your hands. What about visual aids? You don't need to give a full-blown slideshow presentation every time you speak, but if you are sure you need to clarify what you are trying to say visually, then sure, do not be afraid of using any visual aid you feel is appropriate.

Moving Forward...

Always maintain awareness of communication customs due to different cultures and backgrounds. These can include expressions, actions, and behaviors while demonstrating respect for others. This is not easy because we may run into many misunderstandings and cultural clashes, but as a leader, you are always learning and always seeking to being informed. As we move into an ever globalized and intercultural business environment, it is crucial to be culturally sensitive towards and mindful of everyone we work with and serve.


Bonus Content