Have you ever gotten feedback that you were not ready for a new promotion or project? There was no additional feedback given by the hiring manager on what specific leadership communication skills were lacking. You may have heard you were just not ready to sit at the table, you weren’t engaging enough, you didn’t have enough gravitas, you were off-putting, you weren’t politically savvy, you can’t manage relationships, or you weren’t politically correct. The list goes on about generalizations people hear for not getting the position.
Unfortunately, that feedback isn’t helpful. You don’t really know what you did or didn’t do. Someone else was just able to show off their leadership and communication skills better than you.
If you aren’t getting the feedback you need from others, start with your own self-awareness. Communication for leadership success begins by understanding your own leadership style and how others may perceive you. Then, you can reflect on how to change your behavior to break through to the next level. What do you need to do differently tomorrow? What exactly does it look like to be more influential, or disagree a little differently?
Being self-aware about your own leadership communication skills can be helpful in all aspects of your life – professional and personal. Think about…what you need to do differently to be more inspirational with your team…how you can become a more trusted friend…what you can do to be a better parent.
Your leadership style is created by a set of habits or a set of behaviors that emerge over time. Typically, you fall into one of two categories, powerful or attractive, based on how you respond in certain situations. Neither is necessarily good or bad and there are positive and negatives attributes of each. Take our leadership style quiz to find out if you are a powerful or attractive leader. Each of these styles impacts your communication for leadership success in different ways.
Someone who is powerful is dynamic, confident, commanding, articulate, and influential. On the flip side, they can be intimidating, aggressive, arrogant, off-putting, not personal, and abrasive. They interrupt others and express that others are wrong and they are right. You can see how these leadership communication skills can be a blessing and a curse.
In contrast, an attractive style is associated with people who are quiet, differential, nice, easy to talk to, and great team members or mentors. They can also be perceived as weak, too passive, not a leader, or too detail oriented. Attractive leaders are also are known for using too many qualifiers or filler words, “uhs” and “ums”, that convey uncertainty.