There’s no such thing as a ready-born leader. While certain skills may be innate, good leadership is dependent upon your ability to communicate and demands an adaptive approach. What’s more, it requires the emotional intelligence to understand yourself and the people working for you and an ability to identify what they need from you as their manager.
A key area of leadership training is developing your communication in order to more effectively connect with colleagues or employees.
Effective leadership requires you to be positive, clear and consistent in your communication with your staff. Respect the privacy of your people but also interact with them in person, as people first, workers next. Model the communication behaviour you want to see in them and be authentic.
Thorough company and industry knowledge is a prerequisite for any leader. However, knowledge and intelligence can be alienating if not offered and communicated in the right way. Leaders and managers need the ability to mentor and nurture without appearing to be overbearing or condescending. This is sometimes a tough feat to accomplish but achievable with leadership coaching support.
Knowledge also extends to the employees themselves. Pay attention to small details about the people in your charge: their experiences and interests as well as their aspirations and concerns.
Good delivery means projecting yourself well and engaging with people. Effective leadership communication is as much about listening and being curious with good questioning as it is about delivering information when speaking and it’s essential you are fully focussed on the person you are speaking with. Clarity is also key: a part of leadership coaching for all is learning how to deliver your messages at the right level for every audience, to ensure your staff have the information they need to perform well in their roles. Some team members will respond better to private, face-to-face interactions, whereas others will thrive on whole-of-team meetings. Some will want big picture vision/goal first, some will want to understand the details of the problem they’re addressing. Understanding different preferences and delivering the information in the right way will go a long way to securing team engagement. Key to success is keeping it simple.
To reiterate, connecting with a group means ensuring every employee feels valued both as an individual and as a contributing member of your team. For some, specific references to employees, their achievements and views in meetings is a great way to let them know they are appreciated and respected. Others, however, may prefer the receive positive and constructive feedback in a more private setting.
Leaders and managers need to have the emotional intelligence to recognise the different moods and feelings of employees and be able to adapt accordingly. You need to know the right time to offer encouragement or a quick pep talk, or identify when there is something more going on.
While strong people skills are often linked to personality, they can be learnt and, more importantly, honed. Strategic Career Management’s leadership coaching programs offer communication skill development for senior leaders or executives looking for new ways to motivate and inspire their team, down to new leaders or managers learning the ropes.