by Stephanie Bickel
Are you struggling to keep your teams engaged and motivated? Do you have a team member that is not performing up to their potential? There may be numerous reasons for why that is the case and if you are a leader, it is your role to find out what they are. Communication for leadership success comes in many different ways. To brush up on your leadership communication skills, start by asking thoughtful questions, and use empathy to show that you care.
When you are looking to develop leadership communication skills, it's important to note that each person has their own unique situations and needs to be taken care of differently. Your team needs you to lead them through this challenging work environment. They are looking to you for your strength and resilience when they can’t seem to find it in themselves.
Here are 7 ways to help you and your teams continue to succeed, regardless if you have transitioned back to the office or if you are still at home.
1. Know their will and skill levels for each initiative.
To motivate your team, first understand their expertise and desire to act. This will change with each task. If they have done something before and are ready to take on a request, just delegate. They will be demotivated if you try to give them a lot of information. Sometimes someone’s willingness to jump right in is low and affected by time constraints, different priorities, or budget limitations. You may need to take a different approach, addressing these concerns, and exciting them about the initiative. Those who have low communication will and skills may need more support in order to gain the confidence to perform. A communication leader can provide all the details and articulate clear steps so employees have the roadmap of what to expect. It’s also ok to ask them what motivates them, and what their goals are for each initiative. If they know, that can save a lot of time “figuring each other out.”
2. Ask your team about THEIR goals and plans to accomplish them.
People love it when they can feel a part of the process. As a communication leader, you can ask them to contribute by letting them share their visions and goals. A motivational leader's communication starts with specific praise and limits constructive feedback to the top 2 or 3 areas that they can make the most immediate impact. Be supportive and tie your comments to their goals if possible. The more you can lift their skills and confidence up, the more they will lift you up as a leader.
3. Communicate YOUR goals and ask for honest feedback.
Communication leaders are open and honest about what their own goals are as a leader. Ask what is working well and what you can do to be even better. People crave positivity in this type of environment, so keep your work ethic high and maintain a positive attitude.
4. Mix it up – be casual.
We are hearing more and more about the challenges of virtual teamwork and Zoom fatigue. Recognize when this happens and then try a different method. Ask how your team is doing and what their preferred method is to check-in with you. Meeting over coffee, conducting a conference call while on a walk outside, or organizing a virtual happy hour may be just what the team needs. Take the opportunity to be more casual when you can, so everyone can have the energy and stamina to shine when the stakes are high.
5. Use a variety of approaches to influence others.
Your team is not one size fits all. Some people will do something because you logically persuade them to do it. Others need to be empowered and feel a part of the process. There are also some that are more visionary and need to understand the common goals that you are looking to achieve. Get to know your people and find out what will motivate them to take action. Use a variety of influential leadership communication skills, because even though one approach works in one situation, it may not work for another.
6. Observe senior leaders and mentors in the organization.
One of the best ways to accelerate your own growth is to have someone in mind that inspires you as a leader. Visualize in your mind what that successful leader looks like. Take note of what they do or say to motivate and influence others. What are the leader communication techniques that impress you? Try to emulate them. Don’t forget to ask for feedback in your own professional interactions.
7. Listen to motivational podcasts.
Get great advice about leadership communication skills and motivating others through podcasts. Do it in bite-size chunks to make sure you can fit it in your day. Play 15 minutes while you are drinking coffee in the morning, walking outside for a break, or transitioning from your day. We have a few that we recommend or ask a colleague for one that has resonated with them.
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. Learn how to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.
What is Leadership, How to be a Great Leader & Game Theory by Simon Sinek. Understand what it means to be a leader. Use empathy and care to motivate your people.
The Elegant Warrior by Heather Hansen. This podcast is about advocating for yourself elegantly. Learn to ask for what you want and get it.
Communication for leadership success is an art.
It takes practice.
It takes patience.
It must start and end with empathy.
When you take the time to show you care, your people will appreciate you for it.
They will want to go the extra mile for you because you have gone the extra mile for them.
Great leaders and speakers start with Speak by Design. Learn the techniques and build the skills with us. Speak by Design University is the only leadership communication program in the world that gives you access to self-paced learning, group coaching and training and, most importantly, private one-on-one coaching. Learn more and register.