July 29th, 2010

Can You Lead Without Communication Skills?


In a perfect world, all leaders would be trained in communication. Indisputably, communication is essential to good leadership. Without effective communication, one cannot lead.Leadership is often something we take for granted and communication is something that is often overlooked as a vital asset to being a successful leader. I’ve had my share of jobs, all of which allowed me to expand my knowledge of what effective leadership looks like.

Overall, I learned that my most enjoyable experiences all involved positive leaders who excelled in communication.

What is communication? Communication is the sharing of information between two or more individuals or groups to reach a common understanding. The most important part of this definition is that the information or ideas conveyed must be understood.

To see what this definition means in practice, consider giving or receiving incomplete information. With only a partial understanding, problems will undoubtedly occur.

Many times, what people consider communication, is indeed miscommunication.  Can you recall a time you were given instructions at work that you clearly did not understand, but there was no platform available for you to receive clarity?

Many communicators consider effective communication to be an agreement, when indeed effective communication should include clarity and understanding. Healthy platforms for communication will often times include a mutual agreement, but it should also be open enough for discussion. This can help to avoid mistakes on projects inside and outside of the workplace.

In short, a good leader should be able to:

Pay attention to your team. Nonverbal communication has increased and a leader should be able to critically examine the nonverbal cues that his/her team members give off . This can easily be accomplished by bonding with your team, and truly getting to know them and how each member operates.

Have an interest in connecting with people in an emotional way. Studies show that leaders who genuinely take an interest in other people, often spearhead teams who produce exceptional work and results. People tend to act and conduct themselves in a different manner when they feel that they are emotionally and professionally supported.

Practice charisma. In the midst of chaos or confusion, a leader should work hard to communicate charisma while maintaining authority. This can be done by investing in a set of behaviors that are exemplified by you, and in turn,  learned by your team.

Learn to move like a leader. Body language communicates your emotional state to the world. A leader must become aware and take control of the signals they are broadcasting, as these signals may be at odds with the messages they wish to communicate. People often make decisions based primarily on what we see rather than what they hear. Once a leader can understand the meanings of postures, gestures and facial expressions he or she should feel empowered to be far more effective in  leadership communication.

When a leader takes the time to master the above leadership communication skills, their ability to steer their organization or team through various challenges will be significantly enhanced.

Effective leadership and communication can be learned. One is free to determine what type of leader they desire to be. However, keeping these common tips in mind will help to guide a clear plan for success where the leader and the team member sare completely  involved.


About the Author

Joshlyn Ross
A native of Oakland, California, Joshlyn Ross works diligently to share variations of industry news. She also shares words of wisdom and tips for other young professionals looking to capitalize in their respective fields.



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  1. I liked all four of your points, especially “Pay Attention to Your Team”.

    The best leaders understand the importance of the listening side of communication & will readily admit that the best ideas come from their team, not themselves. If you don't pay attention to your team, you'll miss out on those.
    Thanks for the post.

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  5. When a leader takes the time to master the above leadership communication skills, their ability to steer their organization or team through various challenges will be significantly enhanced.

  6. In all fairness, even without communication skills we could still end up being good on our job because there are an ample of ways to do it.

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