When I ask my clients what distinguishes the leaders they admire most, they often speak about leaders they feel uniquely connected with and who inspired them. Leaders do this through their words and actions. They have good situational and contextual awareness and high emotional intelligence that strengthen communication. They can read the person/group and adapt their message to meet the needs of who they are talking to. Invariably good leaders are also good communicators.
Given below are a few traits leaders display while communicating with their teams –
Keep it simple – Leaders meet people where they are by presenting the information in an easily understandable way. They use stories and metaphors to connect with the hearts and minds of employees. Leaders relay complex information simply by using short words and sentences. They care for the message and the emotions they want to leave people with.
Keep it interactive – Leaders encourage interaction rather than one-way talk with team members. They keep conversations open and fluid rather than being directive. Conversations are often more intimate than a one-way address by a leader. They are also more informal in tone and foster engagement by making space for asking and answering questions. Leaders listen actively and stay curious to make conversations open and authentic. They gauge what people are not saying, invite them to raise concerns, and seek feedback. They build meaningful relationships by caring for what their people think, feel, and say.
Keep an open mind – Leaders are interested as much in sharing their thoughts as in inviting different points of view. They see dissenting opinions as opportunities to understand and learn from others.
Share the why – Leaders recognize that sharing a clear purpose helps their team members understand the context and align their efforts. It inspires ownership and commitment among team members. They communicate the underlying values, goals, and vision to –
- Enable others to connect with the mission at hand,
- Create a culture of understanding and engagement,
- Empower their team to make informed decisions, and
- Contribute meaningfully towards shared objectives.
Do not avoid tough conversations – Leaders recognize that avoiding tough conversations can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and a lack of progress. They engage in open and honest communication, even when the topic is difficult or uncomfortable. They demonstrate their courage to tackle difficult situations and their will to create an environment of trust and transparency by proactively addressing challenging issues.
Follow up on their commitments – Leaders foster a culture of accountability by following through on commitments. They inspire others to do the same and create a results-oriented environment built on trust and mutual respect through their consistent actions.
As the workplace becomes more culturally diverse and businesses become more global, leaders who engage in dialogue and easily adjust their styles to the people they interact with will better connect with and inspire their teams. Deep and open conversations create high levels of engagement, strategic alignment, and operational flexibility. What will you change in your communication style to rally your team around the shared vision, empower them, build trust, and successfully navigate organizational change?