Communication Skills to Help Managers Lead Well
So-called “soft skills” have become increasingly recognized as valuable currency in the modern business environment. In an article on Forbes.com, Kevin Ready writes that a good communicator can get by with less experience, but a leader with a wealth of experience who lacks communication skills will have a much harder time advancing in his or her career.
Ready explains that there are a few key patterns of communication to examine, “and it’s up to each manager to determine how to use them effectively.”
4 Main Communication Factors:
1. Passive vs. Active
When you observe a manager, the communication style is active, not passive. A leader anticipates the needs and concerns of their team members proactively.
Even still, passivity remains the norm among many managers. Among the highest performing ones, however, “you will rarely find managers who are passive communicators — because it almost never works,” Ready says.
Ready says that the most effective managers strike the right balance between frequency and duration of meetings. If they prefer in-depth meetings, they understand they must hold them less often.
If they prefer frequent meetings, they understand that to avoid being in perpetual meeting mode, the frequent meetings must be extremely brief. “Meeting in-depth often is a recipe for communication overload, damaged morale, and poor efficiency because no one is getting any work done,” he writes.
3. Listening vs. Dictating
Ready says that the best managers don’t simply talk at their team members, rather they alternate between speaking and being silent in order to elicit feedback and other opinions.
4. Direction vs. Collaboration
Various industries and workplaces may differ in where they ideally fall on the spectrum with this one. It’s up to the manager ultimately to determine how much shared control is most appropriate for the given team.
Sometimes a clear directive from management is called for, but for most meetings, “if the outcome of a conversation is determined before the meeting even takes place, it can be demoralizing for high-functioning employees.”
After reading these four types of communication, the author suggests you reflect on these three questions:
1. What mix of the above communication patterns would be most appropriate for your company?
2. Which of the communication styles do you or your team respond particularly well or poorly to?
3. How many of your communication habits could be adapted for better results?
To read the original article in its entirety, please visit Forbes.com.