The Help You Need to Become a Master Communicator

You may have noticed that my previous posts in this blog series have been all about the topic of communication. My intent is to continue to write much more about the subject in the future, as it is a critically important skill that goes unnurtured and is underdeveloped by most leaders. The fact of the matter is that effective communication is the currency of exceptional, grounded leadership. Without it, leaders lose their ability to drive engagement and productivity. But with it, leaders have all the power they need to achieve their goals and the objectives of their respective organizations.

Leaders who fail to communicate – or communicate poorly – do not last long. On the other hand, leaders who communicate expertly tend to experience rich, fulfilling and rewarding careers, earning the respect of their employees and the admiration of their peers along the way.

What kind of leader do you want to be?

  • Do you want to a leader who hoards the currency of communication and stifles the positive flow of energy in your organization?
  • Or do you want to be the type of leader who communicates masterfully, recognizing that the value of communication is best spent generously, kindly and with the best interests of your people in mind?

I have a feeling you would prefer the latter – and we want to help – so listen in!  

Correct Communication Mistakes and Cure Your Blind Spots

One of the first steps to becoming a better communicator is to practice self-awareness so you can identify blind spots and areas of opportunity.

Chances are, you are guilty of making some communication mistakes, and your vision may be impaired by some communication blind spots.

In this blog post, I highlighted 10 communication mistakes that are common for leaders. To recap, these mistakes are:

  1. Speaking to people instead of communicating with them
  2. Interrupting
  3. Overusing jargon and lingo
  4. Using contradictory body language
  5. Constant complaining
  6. Avoiding difficult conversations
  7. Failing to “read the room”
  8. Dealing in gossip
  9. Avoiding feedback
  10. Failing to listen

Quite a list, isn’t it? But when you really think about it, many of these mistakes are rooted in the fact that most of us did not study or learn how to effectively communicate. We become a product of the environment in which we were exposed to growing up and through all the life experiences and lessons we have learned along the way. Unless you studied communication at the university level or took an active interest in it on your own, chances are that you are communicating on autopilot.

When we are in autopilot mode, we often display and exhibit the 10 mistakes I highlighted earlier. Remember – communication within an organization needs to flow in all directions for successful outcomes to be reached. When leaders use their position to drive their own agenda and broadcast commands, it turns into a dangerous, one-way street. But when leaders embrace the flow of communication and truly learn to listen, amazing things happen.

Curing these mistakes is not that difficult. The hard part is becoming aware that you are making them in the first place. Yes, self-awareness will give you an edge that allows you to sense your own communication deficiencies, but it may not be enough to comprehensively improve your ability to communicate effectively.

In another blog post, I wrote about blind spots leaders often experience when it comes to communication.

Somewhat different from communication mistakes, these blind spots are areas that are usually concealed completely from a leader’s self-awareness. They lead to habitual patterns of unsatisfactory communication. They are also incredibly frustrating for employees and others to endure; from their perspective, these blind spots seem so obvious. But from the leader’s perspective, these blind spots may never register.

To recap, here are the communication blind spots I outlined in the previous blog post:

  1. Going solo
  2. Shifting standards
  3. Playing the blame game
  4. Having to always be right
  5. Putting the personal above the professional

Leaders who possess these blind spots know there is something amiss with their communication, but they find themselves unable to get to the root of the issue. Self-awareness may be able to uncover the blind spots, giving leaders a chance to correct them. But these blind spots are usually so insidious as to never be realized by the people who possess them. This explains why feedback becomes so important and making the investment in their personal and professional development so critical.

What’s more, many leaders lack the vulnerability necessary to truly confront their shortcomings. So, they continue to repeat the same self-defeating behaviors and falling prey to the same blind spots that are negatively impacting their performance.

The Spirit of Openness and Empowerment

One of the best ways for leaders to become better communicators is to approach work with a greater sense of openness.

Openness allows leaders to hear what their people are saying without interrupting or always needing the last word. It also allows leaders to ask better questions of their employees while giving them more space to simply listen to the responses. Furthermore, a spirit of openness and curiosity in your leadership creates a greater likelihood that your people will follow suit and use your healthy communication style as a model.

I have also written about empowering your employees to speak up. A lot of leaders are scared to upset the status quo within their organizations, so they take great pains to keep their people quiet. They don’t want to be challenged, nor do they want their ideas questioned. Of course, this does not create conditions conducive to a productive work environment, nor does it foster innovation and creativity.

Empowering your employees may feel like a risky proposition or concept, but if you are truly a grounded leader, you have nothing to fear and everything to gain.

Progress and improvements are possible when it comes to these key communication factors. But it requires self-awareness, mindfulness and, quite often, the help of a trusted voice for guidance.

Help Is Here!

Do you struggle with communication? Are you concerned that your communication skills might be negatively impacting your ability to lead effectively? Are you worried that you are unable to do it on your own?

I have worked with leaders in various industries over the years, many of whom required deep, fundamental transformations to their communication styles. I have observed leaders turn communication challenges into absolute strengths, and I have been there for leaders who felt challenged by the idea of becoming more vulnerable with their communication.

What I have heard from previous and existing clients is the value we bring is to create a safe environment to help leaders tap into their self-awareness, emotional intelligence and vulnerability. I am not interested in telling leaders what they want to hear so they can retain the same status quo. My job is to challenge leaders to think more broadly, enhance their ability to communicate and deal with the real issues that are holding them back from creating high-performing teams. The leaders I have worked with are talented, hardworking and had their hearts and minds are in the right places. They just needed some perspective and coaching to achieve real communication mastery.

Are you curious about what your impact as a leader could be if you were able to rise to a new level of communication? I would love to talk with you, and I encourage you to call me today at 1.855.871.3374. Or send an email to joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca so we can start the conversation.

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