When you are a leader, one of the most critical skills for you to develop is your ability to adapt the way you communicate given the situation you are in. Once you are able to utilize the right communication tools, you will be able to help your team reach their peak performance. You want to be able to communicate in a manner that truly resonates with your employees. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the key communication styles every leader needs in their toolbox.
Listening is one of the most important ways to communicate and should be the most used form of communication for all leaders. While there is no set ratio of listening to speaking, the scale should always tip slightly in the favor of listening. You want to listen not only to what your team is saying, but what they are not saying as well. Listening closely will allow to read between the lines and uncover any hidden frustrations or challenges your team is facing. By taking the time to truly listen to your employees and what they are telling you, you will have all the information needed to evaluate the situation and formulate the best response.
Being an effective coach will help your employees develop and build their sets of skills. Coaching is a combination of teaching and advising as you are laying the framework for your team to follow and reach their desired result. The way it differs from teaching is that you are providing a foundation, but at the end of the day, it is your employee who is directing the plan of action. You are simply giving them the options while allowing them to create a path to reach their outcome.
The best way to decide whether it is best to teach or coach is by evaluating the amount of time needed to resolve the issue. If it is something that is urgent where you need results immediately, teach. However, if time is not a factor, coach. They are not mutually exclusive and often times you will notice that the best option is to have a combination of both.
There will be times when your team needs encouragement. You need to know your team and their preferences. Do they want to be hyped up or do they prefer a method of motivation that is less enthusiastic? Sometimes, a more laid back method such as positive reinforcement is just as effective as being the cheerleader. Many times, the best way to motivate your team will be by getting in the trenches and working alongside them in order to overcome a pressing challenge.