If you read a book on how to be a better leader or look up effective leadership online, chances are one of the most mentioned traits is excellent communication. Highly respected leaders are intentional about their communication, spoken and written, and practice this in their roles daily. Effective communication can be a multitude of things and can vary between jobs, positions, and industries. If you are looking to practice your communication or even just evaluate how your supervisor is doing in this subject, the following are a few telltale signs that a leader excels at communication.
Listen more than you talk
A great leader understands the value of building relationships and seeking to connect with their employees. The easiest way to learn more about someone is to genuinely listen with the intent to understand. It can be obvious and frustration speaking to someone, knowing that they are just waiting for you to finish speaking so that they can then talk. A great leader listens to their employee’s feedback, concerns, ideas, and when appropriate, details about their life outside of work. This can help form a connection of humanity between the employee and their leader, which can build a strong relationship.
Transparency is everything
There will be times when an employee will ask a difficult question and the answer is not necessarily black or white. Rather than tiptoe around this, effective leaders communicate honestly with their employees to build trust and respect. While not all information can be shared down through all levels of a company, a good leader will explain this to the employee(s) asking the questions, providing as much information as they are able. Transparency and honesty lead to a sense of involvement for the employees. This can encourage them to produce better results for a company that they believe they are truly a part of the success of. It is also beneficial to keep employees in the know when it comes to changes within a company to help them make the necessary preparations for success.
There have certainly been times when you were given a task or told information that was not clear or complete. Information often gets misconstrued when a lack of clarity is provided in the communication. Not only will this lead to confusion among employees, but it can also result in inefficient, incorrect, or incomplete work being done. It is far more efficient to take the time to clearly express information and tasks the first time than to have to redo a task or reiterate information. A great leader can also change the style of communication depending on their audience. They understand how each of their employees perceives information and can cater to this uniqueness in their communication.
One of the biggest differences between a great leader and a mediocre boss is that a great leader is aware of the effect of communication on the success of a company. They take the time to grow in this area to enhance the overall health of the business.