Essential Communications Skills for Business Leaders
Career Path : Administration
Communication is a cornerstone of strong leadership. All leaders must learn how to effectively exchange information, but some fall short in this most basic and fundamental skill. The key difference between poor communicators and effective communicators is not found exclusively in word choice, but also in behavior, intention and belief. These qualities demonstrate the character of a leader and help to clarify each message and exchange.
In terms of leadership, behavior is often more important than word choice, because actions demonstrate the quality and consistency of a person’s belief system and integrity. Intention reveals the reasoning and rationale behind action, while belief serves as a foundation for thought and action. These pillars of character tell people far more about a leader than words ever could.
Maintaining Personal Integrity
Personal integrity can be described as a person’s desire to maintain and protect their sense of self. For example, a strong leader who believes in accepting their mistakes will often quickly take responsibility for any shortcomings or disappointments that they’ve caused. To ignore their mistakes would be to compromise who they are and what they believe, and that would damage their personal integrity. Business is as social as it is theoretical, and neglecting the value of personal integrity is an easy way to lose the respect of employees and peers.
Showing Genuine Interest and Concern
Being interested and concerned are both crucial elements of effective business leadership. Creating successful lines of communication from person-to-person is far easier when people believe that what they have to say is valued. A leader who does not show interest or concern will alienate the people they supervise, which in turns stifles any attempt at genuine leadership. Taking the time to ask about an employee’s family, personal interests or life challenges will go a long way to establishing the kind of rapport this is so crucial to team success.
A solution-seeking team leader will communicate in ways that lead their team toward success. For example, if profits are falling behind, insulting and berating the team does not create a solution. Even if the team did a bad job, negativity will not change the outcome. Strong leadership means finding ways to deliver criticism constructively, balancing positive and negative feedback in order to boost morale AND enhance performance. Effective managers look for ways to maximize the strengths of their employees, and new ways to leverage their unique skill sets. For example, if an employee is lacking in a specific skill, an effective leader may support their pursuit of an online business degree and recommend they earn their MBA online while remaining employed at the company.
By employing empathy, listening, and seeking out ways to connect with team members on more personal levels, the effective business leader sees his or her team members as whole human beings. In return, employees are far more likely to work their hardest for a manager they see as cooperative and fair.
What other characteristics do you think contribute to truly excellent business leadership?