From Manager's Desk

Must have communication skills for leaders

Must have communication skills for leaders

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Swati Rai

There are times in an organisation when all employees, in varying degrees and extent have to take on the role of a leader, a pathfinder or a Team Lead, in simple terms sender of a key message conveying decisions and goals. Having said that there are, in every organisation, key posts and appointments that the team looks up to un ascertaining the course of action, providing solutions and succour in equal measure in the hour of need.  For those members of the staff leading the attack on all fronts, good communication skills aren’t an option, but a necessity. Here are my cherry pickings of the whole gamut of key communication skills that industry, company, team leaders et al, must have.

 Clarity in messaging

 If one is the face of the organisation, team, company or whatever else the unit may be, in varied contexts, there is a need to sensitively, clearly, explicitly and without any ambiguity convey the decision so as to meet goals and expand business and client base. The message that emanates from the leader in that case needs not only be drafted sagaciously but also clearly in the head and in the draft of course. Choice of words, connotation and denotation of the lexis, precise shade of meaning and a nuanced understanding of the perceived impact of the message, all these aspects need to be taken care of before shooting that mail, recording a voice message or broadcasting that message in a Zoom meeting. Of course, the medium of communication, its length and intent will impact the choice of words and sentences, yet broad categories of careful consideration remain constant. In the absence of clarity, confusion reigns and mistakes abound. Avoidable both.

 Assertive tone and tenor

 Whatever may be the mode of communication, there is a need to be mindful of the tone of one’s voice- written or spoken. The same message may be communicated in different ways- mild, neutral or harsh depending on the selection of words and kind of sentences. An active voice sentence directly pins responsibility on the subject or the doer. The passive voice sentence conveys officiousness and a distance from the act of doing. It could be used to denote an official order, command or even an extremely polite manner. ‘The matter is being looked into’, is oblique, whereas ‘I am looking into the matter’, is direct and assertive.  

 Current communication standards

 Hackneyed expressions, outmoded lexis, and intonation; aside from an erroneous enunciation, can all spell professional hara-kiri for a business, thought or, industry leader. Keeping the pulse of the audience and their context in mind, empathy, mindfulness, innovation and adaptability of the mind are key to clarity in communication. There is always the need to reflect post a quick scribble in the mind an adapting of the text to the context the best, of tweaking the tone and tenor of the voice, inflection and intonation to match the mood. It is also important to be more mindful of the time of selection of sending the communication, empathetic and crisp communiqué to save and respect everyone’s time, being aware of the forms of address of the receiver as may be the norm, displaying gender and designation sensitivity and also at the heart of it all, be able to convey rightfully and mindfully the core message that you wished to, is the true test of great communication.

 Apart from these broad guidelines encompassing key factors that leaders need to keep in mind to make their communication on point, other brass tacks are : not mixing up registers, minding one’s politeness P’s and Q’s and rechecking the draft before hitting send, digitally or in real life!   

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