Essential skills for aspiring leaders: Communication

Essential skills for aspiring leaders: CommunicationCommunicators bring communication skills to life! Being a good communicator – especially as a new leader – will set you apart from your peers.

Leaders are built – not born.

No one is born a great leader or manager. They learn, adapt, grow, hone skills and improve – sometimes by trial and error over time.

Be focused and curious – always!

I can attest from my experience that being focused and curious are key. Focus on key strengths and be inquisitive at every opportunity to grow and develop that strength.

Finding out where to focus and what to be curious about can be a challenge.

Based on my personal experience, these are the 5 essential skills that aspiring leaders and managers need to be successful.

The big 5!

#1 Awareness

#2 Communication

#3 Courage

#4 Humbleness

#5 Ownership

I will dive into the nitty-gritty of these in separate posts.

Work hard, stay focused and develop your strengths. This worked for me and it just might work for you too.

Today’s post is #2 on my list – Communication. To hone your skills and learn about the other essential skills, click on the links above.


Be a good communicator
Share information often and in different ways

#2 Communication

Communicators bring communication skills to life! Being a good communicator – especially as a new leader – will set you apart from your peers.

What does a good communicator look like?

Good communicators are normally tall, tanned with beach-sand coloured hair and they… okay, so this is a bit ridiculous. Anyone can be, or become, a good communicator – yes even you introverts out there!

Good communicators are easy to spot as they are the leaders that effectively update their team with real-time relevant information. They provide clarity on the big picture stuff, whilst reminding the team of where they belong in the organisation and (this bit’s important so take note of…) how they make a difference to – company profits or strategic goals or customer service promises or growing the customer base – the list goes on.

What you do matters

If you want to bore your staff to sleep then talk company strategy to them every day. Yes, it’s important, but to them – what’s more important – is the next customer or the next phone call or the next query or the growing stack of work they have. The reality is that you think about the company goals more than they do and this is okay.

Want to be a better communicator? Yep, we all do right.

Then start here –

  • Have regular team meetings – fortnightly or monthly. Don’t cancel them!
  • I’m a big fan of daily huddles – 5 minutes every morning we all stand up and discuss what today’s focus is.
  • Have regular one-on-one catch ups with staff that report directly to you.
  • Decide on the level of information you can share with your team (if you are not sure then ask your manager).
  • Be approachable – make sure your team know that they don’t have to wait for a team meeting to share an idea or concern
  • Communicate positive feedback at every opportunity.

Overall make sure you share the need-to-know information often, whilst having an open door policy and share ‘positives’ at every opportunity – easy right..!

Pick one strategy above – work on it, be consistent and embed it into your practice, then, pick another – work on it… and so on. You will be a great communicator in no time.

My final point

I have found that when staff hear nothing from leaders – they make something up. If you over-communicate and people hear the same message more than once – it doesn’t matter. It’s better they hear it twice than not at all. In fact, I’ll even deliver an update in a meeting then follow up with an email – bam! Now everyone is up to date.

Never stop learning,

Rex

PS: bonus tip…

During times of change its important that you over-communicate – there is no such thing as too much communication during change!


In the next post I will talk about the next essential strength aspiring managers and leaders need to be successful – #3 Courage. Be Brave, be bold, be courageous!

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