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The essential communication skills for leaders to practice

20th October 2021 Print

On the face of it, communication is a universal skill and one that plays a crucial role in the workplace. However, it’s also one of the most neglected, as people take this for granted to the detriment of businesses across the globe.

This is borne out by the numbers, with an estimated 92% of people having had to repeat a piece of information to two or more people within an organisation. A further 85% find this incredibly annoying, while 96% of people think that the businesses they interact with could improve when it comes to communication and project management. 

But why is communication so important in the workplace, and what are the essential communication skills that leaders should learn?

Why is Communication so Important for Leaders?

A leader can take many forms, but in general terms, it describes an individual who inspires positive and incremental change by empowering those around them to help achieve a common objective.

Effective communication is central to accomplishing this aim, especially in terms of aligning efforts and creating a sense of unity within the workplace

In an absence of communication, information and instructions can be misinterpreted, causing productivity to suffer, processes to be delayed and relationships to descend into conflict over time.

What are the Most Crucial Communication Skills for Leaders?

With this in mind, the question that remains is what are the most crucial communication skills that leaders need to learn? Here’s our list of the top five:

- #1. Adaptability: Let’s start with the basics; as different communication skills are absolutely imperative if you’re to successfully interact with different employees and individual personalities. This is especially true when looking to motivate employees, as while some respond to encouragement and incentives, others require you to take a firmer and more concise tone.

- #2. Active Listening: Good communication involves far more than merely talking, as effective leaders must also have the ability to engage in active listening. This enables you to take your employee’s concerns and feedback on board, creating a scenario where you can actively improve processes and create a superior workforce. This also reaffirms your caring nature as a leader and contributes to a more immersive and empathetic working environment.

- #3. Empathy: On a final note, it’s crucial that leaders are able to show empathy when communicating internally with staff. After all, employees are human beings who may be suffering with significant mental and emotional issues that continue to impact on their productivity. As a leader, you’ll need to react to such challenges and ensure that you understand what your employees are going through in real-time.

- #4. Transparency: It’s telling that more than a third of senior managers in the US “hardly ever” know what’s going on in their organisations, and this can make it hard for them to communicate honestly with their employees. So, company-wide transparency is key to effective communication, as it helps to break down a stubborn and challenging barrier in the workplace.

- #5. Clarity: On a similar note, it’s important that you speak clearly and concisely when instructing employees. This type of clarity is integral to the everyday communication that takes place in the typical workplace, as without it you’ll most likely see delays in projects and misunderstandings between colleagues.