Written by: Peter Minkoff
Are you a fresh leader or have you been in these waters for a while? Either way, you surely know how important communication is. Each person, no matter the position has communication skills developed at a different level. However, leaders need to excel in it! So, how can you improve your skills as a team leader?
Numerous vague tips and advice exist online. However, they are not nearly enough for team leads to improve for their employees. Here are practical guides that can help you improve your skills and master them while leading your team.
1. Listen first, speak later
Many people hear, but they don't listen! While hearing is a mere reception of a sound, listening is truly understanding what the other person is trying to say. If you want to improve your communication skills, you need to learn how to listen first! How is that possible?
Focus on the person and their story, don't let your mind wander off while listening. Keep eye contact and regularly reflect on what has the other person said. This will show your engagement and care for your team members. Also, communication can help you lead your team through back-to-work blues. Be aware that this skill needs practice, so don’t get discouraged straight away!
2. Body language and non-verbal communication
Did you know that body language can tell you much more about the person than the words they speak? By observing a person's body language, you can conclude how are they feeling, whether they are uncomfortable, confident, or even not telling the truth! So, you as a leader need to use body language and other nonverbal cues when communicating with your team!
Show them you’re open for communication by taking an open stand and smiling. Be careful when it comes to conflicting situations. Ensure your verbal and nonverbal communication are in sync. If they are not, you can confuse your associates. So, practice that in front of a mirror.
3. Stay organized
Confusing communication, tasks, and assignments decrease your team's trust in you, which can be dreadful for your career and reputation. Every team leader needs to stay organized no matter how many things they need to complete during the day. That will also help you improve in-house communication by keeping things clear, honest, and open.
So, to become a better project manager and improve your communication skills, you need to sort out your priorities and help your team to do the same. Transparency is the key to this type of communication and organization, so mark things according to urgency and importance.
4. Stay in touch
Whether you work remotely or you've returned to offices, staying in touch with your team is crucial for communication, their wellbeing, and work performance. Organizing feedback meetings from time to time is of utmost importance for both, team leaders and members. It boosts your skills and teaches you how to communicate in different situations. But how can you keep in touch while being overcrowded with work?
You need to focus on the benefits of in-team interactions. Create an internal communication strategy that will suit you and your team. Consider introducing apps or similar platforms where you can chat, share important work-related files and information, as well as stay informed about the latest company events. By using technology to communicate, you’re also developing a major part of your communication skills!
5. Learn to learn
At no point in our lives, we are perfect. Everything we do is a process that requires continuous learning and development. This also includes communication. As a leader, you need to be prepared for different situations and how to react to them. So, be coachable and learn to learn from various contexts. How can that improve your skills?
By following social cues, you’re developing social and emotional intelligence which are crucial for communication. If you truly want to become the best possible leader for your team show that you’re high potential and ready to work! Be open to various education and communication courses. With time and effort, you’ll boost your skills.
Nobody has learned how to properly communicate overnight. Even though it's expected from team leaders to know how to interact with the team members, everything can be thought. So, follow these tips to improve your skills and always keep on learning!