Communication is the one single attribute that makes one leader stand out in a crowd. A leader with well developed communication skills knows when to apply them and how to adapt their style to the audience and the circumstances. They achieve good communication by:
- Listening to others
- Working with people to achieve consensus
- Adapting their style to suit the circumstances
- Being skilled in all forms of communication
- Posture and body language
- Resolving conflict
A leader with good communication skills uses effective communication to build confidence within the team and encourage team working, particularly influencing, persuading and negotiation to break down barriers. Strong confident communication builds strong confident relationships with others. Internal networks serve to spread the message to others who may be in a position to help and to gain input from a wider set of opinions.
Leaders with good communication skills encourage healthy debate. If everyone is thinking the same way, no one is actually thinking.
A strong leader employs active listening, This is not just about hearing other’s opinions but valuing them and making adjustments in the style of listening for the needs of others. Active listening (whether through verbal response, body language or eye contact) is an invaluable form of dialogue. This requires a range of skills and the knowledge apply them to different people, situations and different cultures.
If you focus on developing only one leadership attribute, then communication should be it.
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