5 Communication Strategies of High Performance Leaders
When it comes to becoming the best leader, effective communication is integral to your success. And never more so, with so many different ways of working from remote to hybrid to flexi-time. The challenge to communication is compounded by the experience of talking through a screen with delays, interruptions and lack of physical presence and the ability to read body language. Its likely you'll need to adjust and sharpen your communication skills with this extra complication; they will help you to manage conflict, improve team dynamics, develop individuals, and improve employee retention regardless of the working dynamics.
How you communicate is the driving force behind your team’s performance. A leader has the power to create and destroy simply by the way in which they communicate. Here are five communication strategies that will help you develop as a high-performance leader.
Be an active listener
Being a good listener gives you great advantage when communicating. You receive more information about others, and this empowers you to personalise how you communicate at the individual level.
By asking for feedback, listening to it, and then acting upon it, you begin to build trust. Therefore, ensure that you don’t interrupt when others are speaking, pay attention to what is being said, and repeat back to clarify your understanding.
Empathy is a key skill for leaders, and crucial for effective communication in high stress periods. By showing that you understand your employees’ emotional state, you demonstrate that you care about their feelings and value them as a person – a key attribute when taking a carefronting not confronting approach to managing conflict in the workplace
In the 2020 State of Workplace Empathy Study more than 90% of employees, HR professionals and CEOs have said empathy is important every year since the survey started in 2017, with 76% of employees saying that empathy drives greater productivity. Yet 72% of CEOs acknowledge that workplace empathy needs to evolve. The good news is that 73% of employees believe that empathy can be learned.
Developing empathy as a leader enables more meaningful conversations and allows difficult conversations to be tackled with greater respect and more meaningful outcomes.
Be positive in giving feedback
Frequent feedback given positively enables in-depth discussion about performance and for the employee to be engaged in their own performance and development plan. When providing feedback on performance, it is important to look forward to what could be.
In its research ‘Re-engineering performance management’, Gallup found that employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged than other employees – yet only 30% of employees strongly agree that they are involved in goal setting. Only 21% strongly believe they have control over performance metrics.
Understand your own possible unconscious biases
Your unconscious bias could get in the way of communicating effectively. It affects how you view people and how you communicate with them. Your unconscious bias is shaped by your experiences and learning. This leads you to make assumptions about people, and this impacts your behaviour toward them as you stereotype according to your unconscious bias.
Developing your self-awareness will help you to understand your own biases and how they influence your communication style. With deeper understanding, you can better manage your actions and reactions, and therefore communicate more effectively.
Whether giving feedback or delegating tasks, be sure to be specific. Explain how you want a task done, the deadline to be met, and the specific outcomes you expect. Be sure that the person or team to who you are talking understands what is expected, and ensure that any help or resource needed is made available – including your time if needed.
Clarity eliminates confusion and empowers people to do their best work.
Communicating effectively to lead effectively - the bottom line
Effective communication is the heart of effective leadership. Good communicators inspire, influence, and engage their employees. They manage conflict well, develop individual and team skills, practice empathy, and ensure their communication is understood.
When they are led by good communicators, employees are more engaged in their work and their own development. They understand the goals that are set because they help to set them. This encourages people to move forward faster, and free up your time to spend more strategically.
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