One of the key components of being a great leader is the ability to communicate effectively. If there is a lack of communication, tension will begin to arise in the workplace. Avoid this tension by implementing these 5 tips to effective communication:

Be Honest

If I’m being honest, no one likes a liar. As a leader honesty is key, even if the truth hurts. According to Forbes writer Ty Kiisel, data showed that only 18% of those surveyed trust their business leaders to tell the truth, with government officials coming in at 13%. That is a very low percentage considering the amount of employed individuals. This doesn’t mean that your team or employees need to know everything, but what they do know needs to be truthful facts. Honesty creates a trusting environment.

Confront Your Team Members in Non-Confrontational Times

Have you ever been interacting with someone while they are in a terrible mood and acting very rude either in their actions or language or speech? Then, because you are so irritated by their behavior, you confront them right in that moment about how they’re making you feel. Before you know it, you are in a full blown dispute or conflict. That is because you approached them at the wrong moment. The best time to speak to someone about a touchy topic is when it is a non-confrontational moment. This allows the other person to fully hear where they made a mistake and hurt you, without filtering it through their anger. As a leader, you need to determine the most appropriate time  to communicate certain topics. The idea is to set your team members up for success.

Listen Don’t Just Hear

In order to be a great communicator, you have to be a great listener. According to online source Key Differences, hearing refers to one’s ability to perceive sounds by receiving vibrations through one’s ears, but listening is something done consciously, that involves the analysis and understanding of the sound you hear. Many times, as leaders, we will hear what our team is saying, but at the same time, we are thinking of the 500 things we need to get done. In this moment, our communication is suffering because we are not listening to what they are saying and therefore we will not be able to answer them sufficiently.

Watch Nonverbal Communication

Nancy J. Foster, Director of the Northern California Mediation Center, stated that research shows about 85% of what we communicate is nonverbal. Here’s the truth, most employees are intimidated by their bosses and fear being fired if they are completely honest. As a leader, watch your teams nonverbal communication, because that is what they would really like to tell you, but are too afraid to do so. If you notice that your employee or team member seems cold and standoffish, ask them what’s going on or if you have hurt them in anyway. This may be hard and seem like a waste of time, but it will be worth your while.

Replace Ego with Empathy

Many successful business owners started by either working a part-time minimum wage job in the company they now own, or had an idea and worked very hard till it succeeded. Howard Schultz took a trip to Milan and was inspired to start upscale coffee shops all across America. Once he returned he talked to his boss, who had no interest in owning multiple coffee shops, but agreed to finance him, and now it is a multibillion dollar company known as Starbucks. Phil Robertson’s story is a little different. He gave up a chance to play professional football to pursue his love for duck hunting. What is now known as Duck Commander began by Robertson creating a duck call that turned into a million dollar company. The point of these stories is that we all have to start somewhere. When communicating with your employees or team members, don’t forget where you started, and replace your ego with empathy. Some may not be as blessed, and empathy doesn’t mean that you will be taken advantage of. It just shows you can relate and you care.    


By: Christa Vandenburgh