To be a great leader you must first be a great communicator. With good communications skills you will be able to articulate your vision clearly and repeatedly. Spell out your plan of action, asking for everyone’s support and showing confidence in a positive outcome.
Think of all of the areas where communications skills are used.
- One-on-one with your employees
- Small groups or your team
- Larger groups and meetings
- Interviewing applicants for a position
- One-on-one with your upper-management
All of these are important tasks and how well you do them is dependent on your communications skills. This two part article will look at communications from the heart of the speaker to the heart of the listener with tips on how you can become a great communicator.
Communication Begins In the Heart
The root of what you communicate comes from the core set of values and principles in your heart. If you do not believe what you are saying you will not do a good job of it. The first step in becoming a great communicator is looking at your own heart. Understand who you are and look for things you need to change within yourself to become a great leader. Base yourself in the core values that never change over time: honesty, respect, faith, caring, perseverance, and diligence.
Communication Is Made Logical In the Brain
Drawing from your heart your brain forms the words and sentences that become your communications. The mind makes logical sense out of what the heart tells it. The words your mind uses to create what you say will affect the outcome of your communications.
To properly communicate you must master the skill of language and how to use it. Expand your vocabulary to better express your ideas. Read books, magazines, Reader’s Digest, even look words up in the dictionary. Daily reading will feed your mind with new words and ideas that will make you a better communicator.
Communication Is Made By the Tongue
While this seems obvious, give it some thought. At any place in the communication process things can break down. Often this happens between the mind and the tongue. How many times have you asked yourself, why did I just say that? Why did I not say what I was thinking? If this happens to you look back through the process, to the mind and to the heart. You will likely find these are the places that keep you from saying what you mean.
Sometimes what you have to say is personally difficult to you, such as reprimanding or firing and employee. Your heart and mind struggle for words. This is the time leaders lead and imposters falter. What you are communicating may be tough to do, but if you base it from your heart and choose your words carefully you will be able to effectively communicate.
Understand the Circumstances
Where and when you communicate is as important as what you communicate. When you are speaking to a group of people consider the culture of the people you are speaking to. There are times when phrases or ideas are inappropriate because of culture. Consider the environment, is it formal or informal? Are you addressing subordinates, peers or upper-management?
When you need to talk to an employee consider the environment. If you are couching an employee this can sometimes be done in public. If you are reprimanding them, you should always do this in private. How effective your communications will be will depend on you making a proper judgment of the circumstances and the environment they will be given in.
Great leaders are also great communicators. Many of the tasks you do every day will require good communications skills. It is a vital skill of leadership.
Great leaders base their communications on a sound foundation of principles and values. Their mind possesses the ability to use words and build sentences to clearly and effectively convey their message. They are able to say what they mean without getting tongue tied because the first two elements are aligned. They understand the circumstances and the environment they will be speaking in and tailor their message to fit.
In part two of this series, Leadership Skills – Communications Part 2 we will examine the role of the listener. Your communications will be more effective if you understand the listener and learn to tailor your communications for them.