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4 Tips to Develop Excellent Leadership Communication

Posted by Sandy Yu on 9.10.2019

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Leadership communication is pushed to the back of the ‘urgent’ to-do list more frequently than most want to admit. The complexity of verbal and non-verbal cues, mixed with employees’ vast emotions can be challenging to grasp. Still, the standard of leadership communication is viewed as having general conversations and sending scheduled emails.

But being a ‘good’ communicator isn’t enough anymore. Employees want personal connections now, more than ever. Their ability to open up to you, and you doing the same, directly impacts business operations. With powerful business factors like creativity, engagement, and employee experiences on the line, your team deserves excellent leadership communication. 

Now is your time to take steps to move from good to excellent:

1. Acknowledge the truth of your current communication status

You communicate with employees every day. But that communication often doesn’t serve its full purpose. Numerous factors, including the source of communication, an employee’s current mood or situation, and their attitude regarding work impact how well communication is received. 

Top leadership communication experts understand they’re likely not hitting every employee’s every communication need. That’s OK -- for now. The only way to resolve the issue is acknowledging shortcomings. Listening to the hard truth through employee surveys and open discussions is the most effective place to start.

2. Set intention for your communications

"What is our intention for this meeting? What's important? What matters?" These are the three golden questions Oprah Winfrey asks to open every meeting. The responses, no matter what they are, bring clarity to the meeting. 

Clarity is a critical element of great leadership communication. It transparently and intelligibly shares the common goal everyone is working on. With this transparency also comes the ability to focus and re-focus on the tasks at hand. 

Setting intentions, like Oprah, shouldn’t be confined to traditional meetings. Your entire leadership communication strategy must be designed around those three questions. If you’re sending an email, for example, what is your intention? Why is this email important to employees? And what matters most once it’s sent?

3. Use new technology to your advantage

Leadership communication tactics are often on the backburner. It’s easy to be distracted by goals or the next emergency. Mix all of these up with mundane administrative tasks and you barely have time to focus on communication. 

Free up time using AI technology created to handle those tasks. For example, x.ai is an AI assistant platform designed for hands-off scheduling. Employees can put themselves on your schedule without days of back and forth. This puts the power of scheduling in employees’ hands, making them feel in control and important.

4. Hone in on non-verbal cues

Your employees communicate using more than just speech. Their non-verbal cues are actually more telling than words. Consider an employee tells you they’re currently satisfied in their role. If they’re fidgeting and looking downward, chances are there’s more to the story. 

Ignoring simple clues like this could result in a prolonged disaster. The employee may leave and the unknown-to-you negative circumstances will continue. 

While focusing on your employees’ non-verbal cues, practice your own. Consider what body language your former leaders used to make you feel welcomed and accepted. Do you remember them always smiling? When you delivered challenging news, personal or professional, were their arms crossed or were they casually and calmly placed by their sides? 

Understanding what makes you feel accepted and what feels like a non-verbal attack will help you prepare to improve your own skills. If needed, practice on a close colleague, friend, family member, or even in the mirror.


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Topics: employee communication, workplace communication, leadership communication

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