November 15, 2018

Effective Communication: Key to Leadership Success

Written by Dr. Bernardo Entschev, Global VP AIMS International, Managing Partner AIMS USA

Leadership and communication are key skills within any company as they are critical to effective people management. However, the success of a leader depends on his/her performance in communication skills. Communicating well allows you to express your ideas, create and maintain good relationships, inspire people, present new opportunities and even lead recruitment processes better. In the organization’s daily life, it is necessary to know how to communicate with different people, from the employees to the executives in leadership positions – especially the latter, since they implement the company’s strategy and influence the results. Through the years, I have been developing my communication skills and below I list the most important points.

1. Be a good listener

Many people consider that the leader who speaks well is a better influencer. But whoever is a good listener has more advantages. A study published by the Journal of Research in Personality demonstrated that participants who were good listeners were able to get more information about their interlocutors and thus collaborated on the process of building trust – a key to interpersonal relationships. Develop this ability by adopting some behaviours. Begin by not excluding or interrupting others, especially in the face of different points of view and learn to truly listen. When the other is speaking, pay attention to what is said, and to that end, avoid formulating and continuously asking questions or interrupting. Let the speaker finish his/ her reasoning and emphasise everything that is necessary.

2. Ask for feedback

The experience of senior-level executives who hold leadership positions is important. Therefore, the feedback they have to offer is critical in the communication process between you and them. These leaders’ opinions contributes to the improvement of projects and processes. Take the opportunity to get closer and talk more with the area leader. If you are the leader, you should also ask for feedback from your team. Through feedback, you get the guidance you need to be more precise in your communication about the specific goals and strategies for the area.

3. Be available for dialogue

Don’t be an unreachable professional. Excessive seriousness, for example, can be interpreted as bad mood and prevent people to easily share new ideas and different points of view. Keep in mind that you spend a lot of time with your co-workers and it certainly deals with different personalities. Some people make the day more enjoyable and others a little more difficult. Regardless of who you are, you need to demonstrate openness to dialogue. Always keep your composure and let go of your emotions so you do not get influenced by them. Always look the interlocutor in the eyes and never be afraid of confrontation. Instead, exercise your ability to be empathic, understanding the context in which the person lives, their values, challenges and needs.

4. Pass on trust and credibility

The points that have been addressed help develop communication skills as well as convey trust and credibility. However, you have to go further because you are part of the company’s decision-making team. Decisions and the way you work and behave contribute to building your reputation. As a leader, you have to put what you preach into practice and always keep an attitude of integrity. Treat all professionals with respect, regardless of hierarchy, and keep yourself open for dialogue. Lead people to achieve the best results and positively contribute to their success too.

5. Carefully review all situations

It is common in the workplace to encounter conflict situations. The fact is that not everything is what it seems to be. Always consider to hear all sides. Even in the face of a situation that clearly indicates what is in front of you, stop and reflect. Get your information from safe and reliable sources. For you to improve and develop communication skills, you must always work with the certainty that your opinion and considerations are based on solid, up-to-date data. When in doubt, prefer not to give an opinion, ask for time to reflect about the situation if possible. This helps you to keep your balance in the face of conflicts or in situations that can lead to them. Therefore, carefully analyze all the situations that come under your responsibility.

6. Take care of your verbal and body language

Finally, double attention with the language – both verbal and body. Worry about how you write and speak, avoiding ambiguity. Your arguments need to be clear. When you need to defend your point of view, exercise flexibility and respect the listener. Be careful with the choice of words and stay alert to the whole of your language, because your body also transmits many messages. Eye contact, gestures and even tone of voice are communication tools that many ignore. Adopting a relaxed posture, for example with uncrossed arms, may convey that you are an accessible person. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a middle ground in which the message being conveyed to the speech is tuned to body language, avoiding mistrust and misunderstandings.

Remember, when you fail in your communication, your ability to deal with other people will be compromised and therefore your results.

Written by Dr. Bernardo Entschev, Global VP AIMS International, Managing Partner AIMS USA

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