In the last post I was looking at why is it important that leaders have good communication skills. But what do I mean when I talk about communication skills, does it mean just the fact that I can write a good grammatically correct email or can talk the fluently and clearly? Its far from that, yes those skill are important but leaders communicate differently, they have some additional skills that make them so effective.
1. Trust and Belief
When leaders communicates, they communicate so that the team trusts and believes in what they are saying. It is the foundation on which all teams are built. If at any point of time trust of belief in the leader is lost, the team is lost. So when a leader communicates he should build the confidence of the team to believe in what he is saying and he should stand by his word.
2. Know your team
However big the team might be, leaders take the trouble to know and empathize with individuals in their team. They know how to engage each and everyone in their team. When talking in a group they know how to make each one feel like they are addressing them personally. If this means getting down into the trenches to know your team, then thats what needs to be done by the leader.
3. Communicating with an open mind
No leader is perfect and no leader is a know it all. Leaders should have an open mind that there are other people better in the team and should have the confidence to acknowledge it, appreciate it and nurture it. A good leader should be open to criticism and challenging opposing points of view.
4. Be Knowledgeable
When communicating, the leader needs to do it from a position of being knowledgeable on the subject. They need to build confidence in the team, that they have someone to look up to and take guidance from. If you are not knowledgeable in some particular area of expertise, let those that are in the team take the lead and provide the necessary guidance.
5. Listen more and read between the lines
A lot of communication is done by silently listening with an open mind. Not all is openly said, its important to learn to read between the lines and to observe team dynamics. Its important for leaders to keep their eyes and ears open and to absorb everything around them increasing their awareness of everything happening around them.
6. Body Language
Leaders body language should always show confidence however dire the situation is. A sulking broken leader is never going to inspire their team. Giving the right encouragement, showing that you are in control, engaging with the team, rewarding their achievements and hard work at the same time being firm and positive goes a long way in communicating to the team how you feel. Emotions of the team reflect the emotions of the leader. A defeated leader is a defeated team.