Whether you have just been promoted to a managerial role, or you are simply looking to improve your leadership skills, most sources will tell you the most important skill all managers need is good communication.
It’s easy enough to say that leaders must be able to explain their thoughts clearly and listen to their staff, but what does communication competence actually consist of?
Setting Clear Goals
Yes, it’s important for employers to be able to speak well, and articulate their thoughts, but what many articles fail to mention is WHAT they need to communicate about.
The most important thing that leaders need to communicate about is to set clear goals for their teams.
The role of any manager is to oversee their team; in order to do that, they must plan for upcoming milestones, and set measurable objectives which their staff must meet in order to succeed.
An effective employer always thinks ten steps ahead, always has a backup plan ready, and is able to break down the objective to the minutiae to explain what needs to be done so that everyone in the group is on the same page.
Another aspect of a communicative leader is the ability and willingness to delegate.
Communication problems arise when managers don’t trust their staff with information, and don’t let them in on the big picture of a project, leading them to make mistakes.
An effective delegator establishes a hierarchy in their department, picking qualified team members as leaders.
This way, the manager only needs to regularly meet with either one or a few employees to give directions, instead of having to meet with each and every worker on their team.
These team leaders will then pass the information down to their teams, and so on.
When individuals have questions, they can utilise this chain of command to ask their seniors instead of having to bother you every time.
This hierarchy will make sure there is proper communication flow between you and your employees, and that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities.
Giving Helpful Feedback
The final piece of the communication puzzle is being able to give objective, clear and helpful feedback when it is needed.
Too often, managers don’t realise that their workers are not clear on directions, or have not followed them properly, and don’t have a chance to correct that before a big issue arises.
A communicative leader will utilise delegation skills to make sure that every single employee has oversight from a senior, to catch mistakes early and as they occur.
Then, the manager can get involved to give advice, additional training or mentorship to help their team members thrive in their positions.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 3 January, 2017
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