10 ways Leaders can communicate more effectively in 2023
We may be living through the biggest cost of living crisis of our generation yet one of the ways organisations can continue to flourish is through strong leadership, keeping people connected through a clearly defined authentic and well communicated purpose that engenders a healthy culture.
As part of my consultancy work, I offer Executive coaching, Strategic Leadership Development and HR support within the corporate world.
I was recently working on a project with Communications Professional Kate Sanderson. Kate and I would enjoy sharing perspectives on many wide-ranging topics so I invited Kate to impart some of her wisdom on the changing skills of communication, authenticity and the requirement of modern leadership.
Read on to discover how to communicate more effectively as we enter 2023.
The best, most inspirational leaders that I’ve experienced are those that are skilled communicators, able to transmit and share information, coach direct reports, mentor successors and inspire people they’ve never even met. And it’s not just a question of broadcasting, but listening, asking questions, being curious and demonstrating empathy that builds the trust necessary to lead. – Kate
So, what is expected of a modern Leader
Embracing the collision of home life and work life
Like the viral clip of the political commentator who was live on the BBC news when his young child came crashing joyfully into view, the pandemic forced us all to confront the competing aspects of our lives in our working day and confronting the reality of our who we are at work vs who we are at home and potentially exposing any conflict between the two.
The unmasking of our home lives as we continue to rewrite the new ‘normal’ of hybrid working has created a new dynamic of communication for leadership.
It is becoming increasingly important that leaders communicate not only with honesty but also with authenticity.
For some this feels highly uncomfortable.
Like the emperor’s new clothes, reliance on the ability to compartmentalise and create work personas has fallen away. Online work meetings can mean home life inequalities are more visible.
Curating your online background showing details of your home became for some a way of expressing personality and demonstrating humanity during lockdowns.
Some leaders embraced the opportunity, seizing the chance to show how we are all in this together. You may have seen the ‘all hands’ webcasts, “Look at me! Online and talking to you from my actual sofa in my actual home! I’m just like you!”
It was an easy shortcut to a degree of authenticity by simply showing their dog, a few cushions and a jacket hanging on the back of a door.
A greater degree of humanity is expected from leaders
As the global economy falters and being back in the office is increasingly mandated, the ‘we’re all in this together’ vibe has gradually dissipated and the glimpses of our very human home lives are slipping back behind the veil once more.
But the genie is out of the bottle and people are now more used to seeing another side to leaders and co-workers, and a greater degree of humanity is expected in communications alongside honesty, transparency and empathy.
I talk more about some of the other biggest challenges leaders are facing in my blog.
When faced with new or old challenges, it can be helpful to return to the basics whether that is during face-to-face conversations or when creating written communications. According to Deloitte, there are eight rules for excellent communication.
The foundations of excellent communication: the eight C’s
1. Courteous: Being friendly, thoughtful and sincere.
2. Concise: Being brief and only including what is relevant.
3. Considerate: Considering your reader or listener’s viewpoints, background, beliefs and mindset.
4. Confident: Presenting yourself well, speaking clearly, using eye contact and taking the space you need to communicate.
5. Clear: Saying exactly what you mean.
6. Correct: Checking for spelling, grammar, and factual errors beforehand.
7. Complete: Ensuring you have included all relevant information and that you are clear on the purpose of your communication.
8. Concrete: Using facts to support what you’re saying and doing so with authority.
Improving leadership communication skills delivers better results for your organisation
How to communicate more effectively – 10 Top Tips for Leaders.
1. Review your communication approach
The mixture of ages in the workplace can bring new challenges to leaders. Considerations for work life balance have changed in recent years.
The four generations of Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers are potentially all in the workplace together. What works for Gen X may not work for Gen Z.
A recent survey from Deloitte shows that Gen Z’s top considerations now are;<
– Struggling with financial concerns vs environmental considerations
– Doing purposeful work
– Flexible working to bring balance to their lives
The average Gen Z is highly attuned and savvy and can smell greenwashing and fakery a mile away.
2. Create a greater sense of inclusion
Companies and their leaders need to focus on their purpose, contribution to the world and what it means to lead authentically to flourish as Gen Z becomes the most populous age group on the planet.
Modern leadership is flipping old approaches and is dialling up empathy, authenticity and connection and increasingly the ability to connect with one another and to a shared purpose will assume a greater importance.
Traditionally leaders may have been able to disseminate information on a need-to-know basis, which created silos and mistrust.
However, modern leaders need to share information more broadly to encourage collaboration. In turn, this can motivate employees to help each other succeed creating a greater sense of inclusion.
3. Be comfortable in our own skin
Authenticity begins with being comfortable in our own skin.
If we’re comfortable with who we are then we can truly listen, understand and connect with others without fear or judgement.
This can be about tone of voice, use of language and increasingly involves a more human style or choice of media to resonate with the audience.
4. Be aware of cultural communication styles
In our world of increasing global collaboration, it also may be helpful to be aware of cultural differences in communication styles. For example, in many western cultures people speak fast, interrupt frequently and those who keep silent are perceived negatively.
Whereas in other cultures people may speak more slowly, choose their words more carefully, take longer pauses, and speak only when invited.
Cultural communication awareness can help ensure leaders are not seen as either aggressive and disrespectful or viewed as lacking in ideas.
5. Communicate vision and purpose effectively
It is a well-established fact that people perform better and deliver better results when they understand how and why their work advances the company’s or their team’s purpose.
The quality and effectiveness of communication among leaders, their peer groups and teams across an organisation can directly affect the success of the business strategy.
Communicating authentically will supercharge a leader’s abilities to penetrate the every-day noise of emails, team calls and webcasts and cut through to create a shared vision.
How to communicate more effectively continued –
6. Know your superpower
By tuning into our own strengths and natural abilities we can understand our individual and unique talents which are the superpowers in our lives.
Once you are comfortable in your own skin, you are less likely to find the brilliance of others too dazzling and therefore threatening. Different thinking and experiences can be cherished as part of everyone’s unique diversity.
7. Be courageous
Don’t be afraid to bring all of your personality from every aspect of your life to the workplace and be comfortable in your own skin.
8. Be curious
Embrace your unique diversity and be curious about the uniqueness of others. Voltaire said that we should judge a person by their questions rather than by their answers. This is never more true than in leadership roles where we look for potential in people and with empathy can empower the best in those around us.
9. Be vulnerable
When you know your strengths and the strengths in others around you, this gives you powerful insight into how to build a team of complementary skills. You don’t have to be good at everything, if you know what you are good at and what other people can contribute.
10. Show gratitude
Most people agree that they would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, yet not everyone says ‘thank you’ often enough in a work setting. However, being thankful can lead to higher self-esteem, reduced depression and anxiety and better sleep.
And a word of warning:
Authenticity doesn’t mean oversharing.
Being authentic and genuine doesn’t necessarily mean revealing every little detail of what you are thinking or feeling or salacious details of your weekend.
For context, here’s Tik Tok and LinkedIn creator Rob Mayhew demonstrating oversharing – enjoy!
What poor leadership communication can cost you
Poor or ineffective communication from leaders, between teams and in any relationship creates a tense environment.
This can lead to individuals in the workplace feeling;
– Unseen and unheard
– Uninspired and less motivated
– Less inclined to apply their best efforts or collaborate
In a nutshell poor inauthentic communication fosters disengagement which in the end negatively impacts the bottom line without question.
Are you communicating effectively and authentically?
Effective and authentic communication in the workplace helps drive better results for individuals, teams, and organisations.
If you want to improve your leadership skills and discover how to communicate more effectively to lead more authentically – Book a free, no obligation discovery call with me.