Network of people

With these 7 Core Competencies

Have you ever encountered a leader who captivates everyone’s attention when they speak? They seem to possess a magical power that inspires and motivates those around them. This is what communication is all about. 

In the last of this brief series on leadership skills I’m looking at …

Leadership & Effective Communication

Leadership sets the tone for effective communication within an organisation. Poor leaders often lack openness, stop listening to their employees, and neglect to promote open dialogue. The knock-on effect is people form cliques, and they hinder the seamless delivery of service by causing communication breakdowns.

This article breaks down effective communication in leadership into seven strengths.

In my work as a Psychotherapist and latterly in my role as a Coach, I’ve been influenced by the renowned philosopher Martin Buber, who is best known for his philosophy of dialogue, which emphasises the importance of genuine human interaction and connection. Buber’s philosophy revolves around the concepts of presence, inclusion, and open communication.

These components form the foundation of his work, shaping his understanding of authentic relationships and their potential for transformation and growth. They have been an invaluable guide to me in my coaching role.

Presence: The Foundation of meaningful Dialogue

Effective communication starts with active listening or, as Buber puts it, being fully Present, a skill often overlooked in leadership. Presence requires individuals to be fully present and engaged in the meeting with the other person.

This means being available, attentive, open, and receptive to the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Leaders who excel in communication intently listen, striving to understand instead of simply responding. They create an environment where they are available others feel heard and valued.

By being Present, leaders gain insights, build trust, and foster a culture of open and honest communication.             

Clarity and Conciseness: Transmitting Messages with Precision

Outstanding Leaders articulate their thoughts clearly, avoiding ambiguity and confusion.

By mastering the art of delivering concise messages, leaders engage their audience and ensure their intended meaning is understood. This skill is particularly valuable when dealing with complex ideas, especially when there’s limited time. Leaders who express themselves clearly inspire confidence.

Authenticity: Inspiring Trust through Genuine Communication     

Authentic leaders communicate in a way that is congruent with their values and beliefs. They are not afraid to show vulnerability and admit mistakes. By being genuine, leaders foster trust and build strong relationships with their teams. Leaders can build stronger relationships through honest communication, fostering a sense of purpose and dedication within their teams.

Empathy & Inclusion: Practising Inclusion and Connecting with Others on an Emotional Level

Effective leaders understand the importance of connecting with others on an emotional level. They practise inclusion, by seeking to understand their perspectives and experiences.

Through inclusion they show empathy and make individuals feel valued and understood. This competence enables leaders to build strong, cohesive teams that are motivated to achieve common goals.

Put simply, we recognise the inherent worth and dignity of the other person. We see them as unique individuals with their own valuable experiences. We try to understand the other person’s view of the world.

Non-Verbal Communication: Harnessing the Power of Body Language

We do not limit communication to words alone. Non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice, play a significant role in conveying messages. Leaders must be mindful of their body language, as it can either enhance or undermine their verbal communication.

Effective leaders harness non-verbal communication to strengthen their messages, show confidence, and create a connection with their audience.

By aligning their verbal and non-verbal communication, leaders have a powerful impact and inspire others to follow their lead.

Adaptability: Tailoring Communication to Different Audiences        

Leaders interact with diverse individuals, each with their own unique communication styles and preferences. Adapting communication to suit different audiences is a crucial competency for effective leadership.               

Leaders must be able to tailor their message to resonate with individuals at all levels of the organisation. This includes adjusting their language, tone, and approach to ensure understanding and engagement. By demonstrating adaptability, leaders bridge gaps, promote inclusivity, and create an environment where everyone feels valued and understood.

Open Communication:

Perhaps the most challenging of all is Open Communication, which is a vital component of Buber’s philosophy of dialogue. For Buber, genuine dialogue goes beyond mere exchange of information or opinions.

Open Communication involves a deep sharing of oneself, an honest and vulnerable expression of thoughts, and experiences. In open communication, individuals are willing to be vulnerable and transparent, to reveal their true selves without fear of judgment or rejection.

This kind of communication fosters understanding, empathy, and intimacy. It allows for the exploration of shared meanings and the co-creation of ability to suspend judgment, and a willingness to be influenced by the other person’s perspective.

Allowing a leader to be vulnerable can sometimes be seen as a weakness, but it depends on the context. Sharing you don’t know what you’re doing might not be a good idea. Sharing your nervous about a presentation, but you have prepared well could be. A leader must build relationships before they can share vulnerability, and this requires the other six competencies.

In conclusion, effective communication is the lifeblood of successful leadership. By honing, Presence, clarity and conciseness, authenticity, empathy and Inclusion, non-verbal communication, adaptability, land Open Communication, leaders can elevate their communication skills to new heights.

Developing these competencies will also enable leaders to navigate challenges, foster collaboration, and achieve remarkable results. So, embrace the power of effective communication and unlock your full leadership potential.

What would you add and what challenges do you have?