As a business leader, knowing how to communicate with fellow managers and your team is essential. Without good communication, productivity can suffer and the entire workplace can become a tense environment. To help you in this manner, review 5 effective communication skills for leaders below.

1) Authenticity

Successful business leaders are genuine when they speak to their employees, which builds trust. If team members feel their managers do not talk to them in authentic ways, they can start to wonder if these individuals are being truthful and when to believe what they say. Trust is a necessary foundation in any relationship, so being open, honest, and respectful is key.

If you have bad news for the team at any time, refrain from twisting the truth or “sugarcoating” your words. While it is important to be tactful and respectful, it is equally important, to be honest.

2) Active Listening

Making it clear that you are truly listening to the person you are talking to is one of the most effective communication skills for leaders. This means putting away distractions, such as phones and laptops, and concentrating on hearing the person in front of you. By demonstrating that you are interested in what they have to say and want their feedback, they will know that you respect them and they will appreciate you for it. Team members who do not feel listened to, do not feel respected and are more likely to do the bare minimum at work.

3) Visibility

If your team never sees you, communication efforts such as emailing and messaging become extremely impersonal. While you do not have to “be among the people” all day every day, it is important for your staff to see you. Taking time to chat with them and listen to any concerns they have makes it clear that you want to create a healthy, happy workplace.

4) Empathy

While it is important to maintain a professional environment in the workplace, it does not mean you cannot be empathetic. Showing empathy towards your employees lets them know that you recognize their humanity and want to do what you can to help. For example, say an employee just had a baby and needs more time off work. They say they can take unpaid leave, but really need this time to bond with their child. Being empathetic and understanding towards this employee’s needs makes it obvious that you value them.

5) Mindful Body Language

Your body language says a lot, whether you realize it or not. Making eye contact, avoiding standoffish poses such as crossing your arms, and leaning in just a little shows that you are listening. Try to become more aware of your body language when speaking to employees and fellow managers, as you might be sending signals you are not aware of. The right body language combined with active listening can easily make you a favorite among your team because they feel valued and appreciated.

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