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The greatest leaders in any setting all have one trait in common: they all have great communication skills. If you can’t communicate effectively, it is only a matter of time before the situation breaks down into failure.

While it isn’t an exact science, there are specific skills that every leader can add to their repertoire to make them more effective. Here are just a few skills that every leader should have to improve their communication.

Active Listening

One of the most effective communication skills that any leader has to have is to know when to talk and when to listen. Anyone can talk (and talk), but it takes someone strong in communication to be able to know when to listen.

This can happen in any number of ways. Show that you care about your team’s feedback, ideas, and opinions. Not only that, actively engage in the conversation. Invite them to elaborate, pose some questions, and even take notes.

Be Transparent

There is nothing that diffuses quality conversation faster than your employees knowing that you aren’t being honest with them. This means being open about the direction of the company as more than a third of executives, managers, and employees said that they “hardly ever” know what their organizations are doing.

Speak openly about opportunities, goals, and challenges within the company. This can foster empowerment within the company and encourage employees to collaborate and share ideas. This can lead to progression within the company that may not have existed before.

Have Empathy

Being able to empathize with the problems that your employees have can be a huge asset. Most importantly, people can tell when you don’t really care about their experience and feelings. This might not seem like a huge deal, but it can mean all the difference in the world.

When your employees feel like you care about them, it changes their view and level of trust in you. When they trust in you, they give you their best. Don’t just show empathy, be empathetic.