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To some, leadership is all about telling people what to do, while, to others, there's much more that goes into being an effective leader. Among numerous other functions, great leaders support, empower and influence others, by utilizing healthy communication skills as the means, by which they get it done.
As you can probably imagine, these things are easier said than done, but according to Harvard Business Review, good (and bad) leadership creates a 'trickle-down effect' that impacts the behavior of those, below the chain of command, which produces results, such as personnel retention; sustainable, non-toxic cultures; customer satisfaction; along with organizational, professional and profit growth.
What do you want to communicate?
You are reading or listening to this because you care about your impact as a leader, and with self-awareness being a primordial requirement, how you lead and the results generated are going to be a reflection of your own leadership style, abilities and awareness.
Are you inviting others to the conversation? Are you enabling safe spaces, for them to be themselves? Are you being yourself too, or are you acting a role? It is important to ask yourself questions like these because the answers add up to be what you are communicating, as a leader.
Your guides can be, but shouldn't be limited to, observing how others respond to your interactions with them; you, putting pride aside, and asking the members of your team for feedback and ways to improve; or seeking the support of a professional communication consultant or coach. Explore what else is out there and commit to what works for you. The climb might be slow but eventually your efforts will bring you the results you desire.
The climb might be slow but eventually your efforts will bring you the results you desire.
Empower, empower, empower!
I remember a time that I was invited to sit in on an organization's brainstorming session, with it's team members. Every member was encouraged to show up with ideas and an open mind so that the team can generate fresh ideas that would then go on to become projects that the organization can implement.
The session got off to a good start, with participants being eager to share some of their ambitious ideas with the team lead. To my dismay, the team lead outrightly dismissed 90% of ideas brought forward, and because of this approach, it wasn't long before she was facilitating a brainstorming session that no one wanted to participate in, because of her dismissive nature.
In gathering feedback from the team, later on, one person described her approach as akin to having the life sucked out of them. Her constant dismissing left persons feeling demoralized and unenthusiastic about contributing further. This is where the art of empowerment comes into play.
Persons are much more engaged when they feel empowered and valued.
This, in itself, can take on many different forms, which may be dependent on numerous factors. These factors can vary according to the nature of the team, project or organization, and may require a tad bit more self, emotional and situational awareness, along with time, but the results generated are sustainable and worthy.
Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.
It's rare that you'll find yourself in a position of leadership and not be required to act as a mitigator when tensions arise, between the members of your team. This can mean presenting an opening for parties involved to have their concerns aired and heard. Unfortunately, in this process, you may be required to make the final call in determining the overall outcome, but you can soften this by allowing those involved the opportunity to, first, resolve the issue themselves.
Similarly, as a leader there will always be a need for diplomacy skills. . Diplomacy also means employing the power of persuasion and tact, so that you are able to get yourself, team and organization to a desired result or outcome.
Have your own biases in order
It's true, we're only human, but that does not mean we get to disown the responsibility we have in ensuring that our own emotions and biases are in check. Think back to a time where you attempted to interact with someone, only to have them react harshly, disconnectedly or in a way that didn't make sense to you. What did that leave you feeling? What effect did it have on your approach to or thoughts about future interaction?
This is just an additional consideration to hold in place. We often, unconsciously, lug around the biased, mental and emotional dilemmas of our life. Without sufficient mindfulness, we end up offloading a bit of them into unrelated areas and relationships, which may then contradict the output that we desire.
We often, unconsciously, lug around the biased, mental and emotional dilemmas of our life
Truth be told, your communication is your responsibility. The change needed to generate desired, sustainable results, requires you to relinquish the role as a force of resistance and instead adopt the function as a change facilitator, in your own success story.
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