Today’s younger leaders strive to inspire massive change on a global level by assessing the issues from a bottom up and top down direction. However, now more than ever before, leaders need to tackle problems from multiple levels, collaborate with one another, and keep their minds open to coming up with solutions for the upcoming generation. Resources are readily accessible to today’s leaders thanks to technology and merging sectors. The ability to influence and inspire as a leader does require the ability to communicate in efficient ways. Regardless of if you are using characters in a social media post or developing a new language out of hand gestures; communication is vital as a leader.
While there are many leadership styles out there, research has proven that the most effective techniques are a merge of both vision and inspiration. That’s also known as charismatic or transformative leadership. However, while you are developing your skills as a leader, you should be aware of the most common styles:
- Autocratic: The leader makes the majority of the decisions, keeps those decisions to themselves until necessary, and doesn’t listen well. Communication isn’t a group effort, and the main opinion belongs to the leader.
- Participatory: The leader consults with the entire team to make decisions and makes a vast attempt to motivate and ensure positivity.
- Laissez-Faire: The leader doesn’t impose any rules or decisions. The group is left to itself with the utmost freedom, which doesn’t work well in dire situations.
- Narcissistic: The leader cares only about their need for power and the admiration they get from it.
- Toxic: The leaders abuse power and potentially the group, and also leave the group worse-off than it started.
Tips on Strengthening Your Communication Skills
Refine Your Pitch
The dreaded “tell me about yourself” question is one that everyone, leader or otherwise, has faced. The question can cause you to clam up during an interview, a networking meeting amongst colleagues, a work gathering, etc. The answer to that question sets the tone, and if you want to get taken seriously, it’s imperative that you answer it correctly. Consider asking yourself how you want the person asking the question to remember you? Is there are a particular message that you want to get across? Try writing down different answers to the question in your spare time as an exercise. You can include who you are, what your goals and styles are, as well as your visions for the future.
Try Being Introspective
If you aren’t sure who you are, there’s no need to panic. Everyone goes through a point in their life where they aren’t confident they are who they think they are. If you try becoming more introspective, it can help you to understand your weaknesses, strengths, and any other areas of your personality that you need to pay attention to. Journaling your day-to-day activities and how you are communicating with your staff as a leader is going to give you a good point of reference so you can see where you need to grow. Not just for yourself, but for your staff members, too.
Look for Feedback
Becoming blind to certain aspects of your personality or who you are as a leader is likely to happen if you don’t reach out and ask for feedback. Just because you’re the leader, doesn’t mean that you don’t have room to grow. If you feel like you would benefit from some feedback from your employees, consider a full-rounded employee assessment. This way you can receive some advice from your staff members as well as your higher boss.
Many large companies do offer upskill training to isolate strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Consulting with your boss or human resources department could help you get into one of these training seminars. These evaluations typically assess different personality traits and let you know which ones work best for communication tactics. If you are naturally a peacemaker, you might find it difficult to communicate when you need to confront someone. These seminars teach you how.
Practice Makes Perfect
There has undoubtedly been a time where you’ve listened to someone speak, and by the time you walked away, you were wowed. Have you ever considered how much time went into preparing their speech? While some people have a natural talent for public speaking, others merely redefine their leadership communication skills by practicing. You can step out of your comfort zone and join a group that enables you to speak to groups that range in size. You can also try teaching a class through online methods, or putting together a club of your own.
You can also try having test interviews with your friends or even some of your colleagues. Have them create an interview for you, so you aren’t aware of the questions, and sit down with you. During the meeting, you can tell if you still speak well about yourself, your qualifications, and your leadership abilities by the way you answer the questions. Ensure that you always ask for feedback from whoever it is that conducted the interview. It’s still best to get a few practice runs in before going on an interview; especially if it’s for a leadership position.
There isn’t a person on the planet who enjoys insincerity. You likely don’t, so why would you want to be insincere to someone else? As a leader, it’s essential that you put effort into speaking with someone by talking to them at their level. Your messages should always be constructed to suit your audience correctly, and you should pay attention to who you are speaking to. It shows you care. If you aren’t sure how to properly do it, revert to practice makes perfect. Try the tactic on your barista, CEO, employee, cleaning person, etc. Both you and the individual you communicate with are going to be feeling positive.
While these tactics are typical, they are also easy to forget. It is hard work putting in consistent effort when it comes to communicating as a leader, but it’s essential. It’s never all about you, and you don’t want to get lost amidst the chaos. Remember, there isn’t a single person that wants to be spoken at; they want to be spoken to. Speak from your heart; it’s the best guide you have.