Great Leaders Are Great Communicators

Great Leaders Are Great Communicators

What motivates people to do their best? Financial rewards? Yes people will work hard for financial rewards? Prestige? Yes again, an advanced position or impressive job title in recognition of a job well done with are certainly going to encourage individuals to work hard. As motivating as money and job titles are, those might not always be in the cards for every boss and every employee, but it doesn’t matter because great leaders know one of the most motivating things they can do for their team is also the one they have the most control over. They have learned to be great communicators.



If you want people to do a great job for you, you need to make sure they know exactly what you expect of them. Tell them when they’re on track and when things need to be improved and how. They need to feel like they make a difference, like they’re not just another cog in a rolling corporate wheel.


Help them feel good about themselves

People will work well if they feel good about themselves and what they’re doing. Great communicators give people reasons to feel good about themselves. They say things like, “I have total confidence in you.”


They give people an opportunity to shine, to use their natural talents and strengths to accomplish something, and those people invariably rise to the task.


Acknowledge a job well done

Leaders expect their people to do a good job. That’s why they brought them on. Even so, people always do better when their efforts are acknowledged. When they feel like what they’re doing matters. Great communicators are not stingy with praise. They let their people know exactly how they’re doing.


They also know acknowledgement is a two way street. A job poorly done is also acknowledged. Leaders that engender the greatest respect don’t simply complain about a job that wasn’t well done. They discuss the situation with the team member. They’ll ask, “What went wrong? How can we improve next time?”


A person that is included in the process this way also feels acknowledged and will always do their best to improve and gain the approval of the boss who treats them with so much respect and consideration.


Share the vision

People will work better when they see the big picture. The big picture gives the group a common goal to strive for. It keeps people on track and motivated. Great communicators always ask, “Do you have any questions?” keeping the lines of communication always open.


Avoid Saying The Wrong Thing At Work

Avoid Saying The Wrong Thing At Work

When asked to do something at work or to give your opinion you might be tempted to say the first thing that comes into your head. Sometimes the first thing that comes into your head is perfectly fine. Sometimes it is not appropriate in a professional environment. Below are a few things it’s better to avoid saying, along with the appropriate alternatives.


This is how we always do it

If asked to do something in a brand-new way you may be tempted to blurt out that the thing is already being accomplished in a perfectly acceptable way. However that will make you seem inflexible and averse to change. Instead ask, Why is this new way better?


I’ve done all I can

You already tried everything you can think of and you still can’t find appropriate solution or answer to the question. Instead of throwing up your arms in frustration say, I’ve tried everything I can think of, can you suggest any other options?


That’s not under my jurisdiction

Sometimes you will be asked to do something that really isn’t under your umbrella. If you dismiss the request out of hand you’ll be seen as a non team player. Rather offer an alternative. I see what you need. I suggest you talk to X.


That makes no sense to me

Even if what you’re being asked to do makes no sense to you there’s no reason to get the back up of the person who’s speaking to you. Get an explanation first. I’m not sure understand. Can you explain this to me?


You are wrong

You might be absolutely sure that what someone has just said to you is completely wrong. However calling them out on it can come across as insensitive and cause embarrassment. A softer approach can be, Here’s why I disagree. What do you think?


You should have

Finger pointing only leads to bad feelings all around.  The recipient of your admonishment feels terrible and you feel like a jerk for doing it. Instead find a constructive way of clarifying the situation. That didn’t work. Next time I suggest you…


I might be wrong about this, but

Even if you are not entirely confident about what you are going to say there’s no reason to cast a negative cloud over it right off the bat. Give the idea or statement space to stand on its own without editorializing. Here’s something we could try


I have no time for this right now

Most of us feel like we could use an extra two or three hours everyday. Don’t talk about what can’t be done, frame it in regards to what can be done. I will be able to do this by…

What Is Your Body Language Saying To You?

What Is Your Body Language Saying About You?


We’ve all heard about how important it is to pay attention to what our body language, or non-verbal communications are saying to others. What we forget to take into account is what our non-verbal communications are saying to ourselves. Body language isn’t simply a form of communication; it can also affect our thoughts, our feelings, and our physiology.


Your body, yourself

You may not realize it, but your body language can influence your feelings of power and dominance. For example, when people stretch out and take up space, like leaning back with their legs outstretched and their hands behind their heads, it creates a feeling of dominance. Raising their arms up into the air like runners do when they finish a race, creates a feeling of power.


Conversely, when people feel powerless they make themselves smaller. They wrap their arms around themselves, cross their ankles, or hunch over.


It’s been established that how you carry yourself or hold yourself in any given moment has a direct correlation with how you feel, and assuming powerful, confident postures can make you feel more powerful.


How powerful people are physiologically different

Powerful people are generally more confident, more prone to see the bright side even in negative situations, and they’re more apt to take risks. Physiologically they’re different too. Powerful people have higher levels of testosterone – the dominance hormone, and coritsol –the hormone that gives you the ability to mitigate stress. So the questions are, can your body postures affect your hormones? If so, does it take years of practice?


The answer to the first question is, yes, your body posture can affect your hormones. And no, it doesn’t take years of practice to see results. You can actually see results by adopting power poses for a couple of minutes a day.


Increase your power through power poses

A power pose like standing with your legs about a hip width apart and your hands on your hips, or sitting with your legs extended in front of you while leaning back with your hands behind your neck can increase your levels of testosterone and coritsol.


You can use power poses to recharge your power levels during the day, or before a job interview, before giving a speech, before a sales call, or before an important meeting,


Even if it feels like holding power poses is faking power, do it anyway, because while you’re faking it you’re also forging a path for yourself to make it.


As Amy Cuddy says in the amazing Ted Talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,  “Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it.”

Don’t Let Email Do Your Talking For You

Don’t Let Email Do Your Talking For You


Before the Bell

In the past if you wanted to communicate with someone you got yourself in front of that person and spoke to them directly. If you had time to wait you could also have sent them a letter. Then Alexander Graham Bell came along and the telephone was added to our list of possible ways to communicate.


When there were only three ways to communicate, in person, by telephone or by letter which do you think was the most effective?


Face to face communication was, because it included smiles and eyes which are windows to the soul. It also features facial gestures and body language attitude – which by the way is contagious, and all sorts of non-verbal cues.


A communication explosion

Fast forward to today and suddenly we’re bombarded with so many more ways to communicate, email, text message, voice mail, video conference. With so many different ways to communicate with each other it’s kind of tempting not to bother getting into a room with someone when we can just as easily stay right where we are and pick up the phone or send off a text or an email.


Put your best face forward

Phone, text and email are all great and convenient ways to communicate if that communication is straight forward and simply a way to pass on information. However if you have an idea or a request or something really important to say, the best way to say it, is the oldest, most tried and true way – face-to-face.


If you’ve got a great new idea that you want to present to your boss the last thing you want to do is explain it over email. Email cannot convey the details of the message the way you can in person. It cannot hold your boss’ attention the way you can. It cannot fill him or her with the passion and excitement you can.


You know when you come away from talking with someone feeling energized and excited by what they just said? That can never happen over a text or email. Face-to-face interactions bring ideas and concepts to life.


So if you have something important to say, use email or a text message or a phone call to set up a meeting, and then get yourself there and communicate your message face-to-face.

Finding The Right Words

Finding The Right Words


So often we hear It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Generally that’s taken in the context of tone of voice and body language, but oftentimes the specific words you use to express yourself are just as important.


Someone asks you if you’ll be able to get a project done on time. Yes you can – so you answer: Yes I think I can or Yes I can.


There may not seem like a huge difference between those two sentences, but one is an absolute affirmative, while the other still has question marks attached to it. Which one would you rather hear?


The words you choose speak volumes about you and at the same time influence how others perceive you.


Indefinite statements vs. definite statements

When you say things like I think or I guess, whatever follows is automatically on weaker ground than a simple direct answer. I guess I’ll go to that seminar implies and underlying unwillingness to do it and makes you seem wishy-washy.


I think I’ll go to that seminar implies a lack of commitment. I should be able to go. I’m supposed to go. The listener all of those statements will still not have any idea of whether or not you actually have any intention of going.


Yes I’m going is clear and decisive.


No I don’t believe this will be of benefit to me removes any ambiguity and provides a reason.


If you actually don’t know, give a reason why and a time when you will have an answer. I have to check with X, I will let you know by the end of the day.


Avoid negative statements

If you want someone to listen with an open receptive mind, you’ll have more success if you frame what you have to say using positive words rather than negative ones.


Rather than Don’t always hit reply all, turn the statement around to Only hit reply all when necessary.


Instead of I don’t like negative people go with, I prefer positive people.


By removing the negative words you’re eliminating a negative undertone you may not even realize is there.


Eliminate can’t

You may not be able to do everything you’re asked to do, however can’t is often people’s go-to word for won’t.


If you actually mean won’t then say so. It’s always better to be clear with your words and intentions. If what you’re being asked is outside of your skill set or knowledge then follow up with a solution. That’s not something I’m familiar with, I will call Sarah she can help. Or I have not done that before, I will find out how.


Your words are a reflection of who you are. People will be more inclined to listen to and follow someone who is direct, straightforward and positive. They will trust a person who is unambiguous in what they say.

Turn Communications Into Successful Communications

Turn Communications Into Successful Communications


Ever notice that some people seem to have a knack for getting the best out of those around them, while others seem to go from creating misunderstanding to snafu to lost opportunity? The difference might be as simple as a lack of strong communication skills.


Start with the little things

You might think small talk is a waste of time, but it’s part of day-to-day socializing. It’s the beginning of getting to know people. Through those small daily interactions you’ll find out that Jen’s husband has gone back to school, you’ll know when it’s time to encourage Sanjar in his quest to run his first marathon.


What you learn through that small talk will help you form relationships and bonds with the people you work with. Not only are you getting to know them better, you’re building an atmosphere of trust and camaraderie.


Listen with your ears and your eyes

Pay attention to the body language of the person you’re speaking to. Are they engaged with what you’re saying or are they distracted?


If you don’t have their full attention, your communications are not hitting the mark. Are your instructions unclear? Is there something going on with them that needs to be addressed? Is there a problem with what you’re asking them to do? You cannot guess the answers to these questions, so ask.


Sometimes if you’re busy it might be tempting to be distracted by a screen or a piece of paper in front of you while giving instructions to someone. That’s a shortcut to giving the same instructions again later. If you want someone to understand what you’re saying you need to give them your full attention. If you expect them to respect you then start by respecting their time and presence.


Be approachable

Ultimately you want to get things done. That shouldn’t mean they have to get done in exactly the way you suggested if there’s a better way. You need to make sure that people understand you want them to come to you with questions and suggestions. Communication is a two way street. Being heard and listening are equally important.


With strong communication skills you’ll be able to ensure things get things done right, the first time!