When you have gone high enough up the ranks to have a team of people working underneath you, you might think you should already have basic aspects of leadership, like communication, in the bag. And yet, a lack of effective communication among management is probably one of the biggest reasons for low performance, poor results, and people not getting along or enjoying their work. And, as we all know, finding a manager who is an excellent, effective communicator is rare! It is so important as a leader that the message you give is clear, both in your non-verbal messaging, positioning yourself as a leader, and also in your verbal. But regardless of how good we should be, the reality is that most people would benefit from some guidance to improve their efficiency as a leader.
So here are some dynamic tips to help you communicate with your teams in a clear and confident manner, to avoid confusion and inspire action. Here are the first 2 of our top 5 - be sure to check back on the blog regularly for the final 3!
1. Know who is the boss
If you are the boss, then behave like the boss! If you are the most senior person in the room, or oversee a team, then let your body language, demeanour and tone reflect this. This doesn’t mean stomping around banging your fists on the table and yelling ‘I'm in charge!’, but it does mean believing in what you say, and holding yourself with a sense of ease and poise. It’s important that you are confident in your right to have a position of authority. Make sure you don’t slump, and that your body language isn’t small and inward-looking, but open, responsive and at ease. If you project confidence, then your team will find it much easier to believe in you.
2. Don't beat about the bush
When you are giving an instruction, don’t beat about the bush or be apologetic about it. Instead, prepare what your instruction is beforehand, and say it with simple steps. It may seem obvious, but take a moment to make sure you are clear before you begin, so that you can be as clear as possible when you start speaking. Don’t be afraid to stop if you feel you aren’t making sense, clear your thoughts and start again. Rather than rattling off your instructions and then looking up to make sure the team are still with you, talk in units or smaller thoughts, and make sure each idea is delivered by making regular eye contact with your listeners. This will naturally slow you down and ensure the team is alert and following. It also means you will notice if someone isn’t making eye contact or is confused.
Both these tips are about directness and clarity. They are about being confident in your role and taking your time to deliver your message. In the next post, we'll be looking at how a clear structure and boundaries will improve your communication even further. Be sure to check back, and to download our free eBook 'How to Speak More Clearly at Work', for more great tips.