Although there are many different styles of leadership, one trait they share in common amongst the leaders in each group is the skill to communicate effectively. If you desire to be a great leader and make an impact, learning how to master the art of communication should be on top of your priorities.
Below, I list 3 skills I found to be an essential part of effective communication. Do you feel that you have mastered them all or do you need improvement? Stay mindful of how often you rely on these when leading others and apply them daily. You’ll be surprised at how effective you can be with a little help from the skills outlined below.
I feel like this is one of the most important skills to master – and yet the hardest part of communication. Active listening is a skill and is critical for effective conflict management. What does it take to be a GOOD listener? You must have the willingness and capacity to listen. You have to be present so that you can actually hear what the person is saying.
You can improve your listening skills by:
- Increasing the capacity to listen by listening to audiobooks or podcasts and catching yourself when the mind starts to wander
- Being willing to actively listen, which is sometimes an arduous task because it requires stamina and presence. But practice makes perfect!
The way one speaks and expresses themselves is an important part of communicating effectively. This can be tricky and assertiveness is often confused with aggressiveness, which it is NOT. Assertive communication is direct, clear, and honest. It does not support the use of derogatory, abusive, or condescending language.
It also does NOT mean that we assert our opinions, beliefs, or ideas onto others and it definitely does not insinuate any type of aggressive or violent behavior to get our needs met. Rather, assertive behavior and speech is an honest and appropriate expression of oneself while maintaining respect for the other person (or people).
The advantages of using assertive communication are:
- Clear and direct messages that help get to the heart of the matter
- Creates a trusting dynamic
- Communication is honest and respectful
Sometimes, this form of communication is more powerful than using words to get the point across. It’s an effective way to tell how receptive, engaged, or shut down someone is. Your body language tells others whether you’re available to interact and how interested you are in what is said. You can use body language to diffuse anger in others, minimize threatening behaviors, and increase communication effectiveness.
Some examples include:
- Leaning forward when having a conversation (demonstrates interest)
- Maintaining eye contact (builds trust)
- Avoiding pointing (minimize threatening behavior)