What Is Leadership Communication? (Definition and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 20 October 2022

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leadership communication refers to the skills and application of effective communication that an employee in a leadership position can utilise. A leader displaying strong communication skills can not only encourage their team to perform their work efficiently, but also foster a trusting work environment that helps their employees feel comfortable in sharing their feelings and ideas. In this article, we examine the definition of leadership communication and outline the skills you can develop to improve your leadership communication.

What is leadership communication?

Leadership communication refers to an effective leader's method of communicating and socialising with their team members and their company's executives. This could include the methods by which they give or receive instructions, report progress, congratulate their team, mediate conflict and administer appropriate punishment. Leadership communication can vary widely in its application and the methods by which an individual can excel at it, but generally, you can apply effective communication skills to any conversation.

Leadership communication skills are as useful as the methods by which you utilise them. The following are some examples of why leadership communication skills are important:

  • Allow collaboration: Effective communication may improve the level of understanding between team members and other teams.

  • Encourage sharing: Employees that feel they have a positive dynamic with their employer are more likely to volunteer ideas for improvement that they may have.

  • Enhance performance: By developing strong communication with their employees, a leader can have a more complete understanding of the project's success that they can share with the company's executives.

  • Reduce errors: A leader can ensure that every team member understands their role in the project, which helps to avoid redundancies and missed work.

  • Improve efficiency: Team members may work more efficiently if their leader shares relevant information with them in an effective and punctual manner.

  • Improve motivation: Clearly outlining the ultimate goal of a project can help team members focus on the purpose of their work, which can help you motivate them.

Related: 15 Ways on How to Communicate Effectively at the Workplace

Leadership communication skills with examples

Becoming an effective leader can be a very personal endeavour. Typically, you want to first decide what makes an effective leader by outlining specific practices and conversational choices that you might make. To help you start building your own list of essential leadership skills to practise, the following is a list of typical skills that could help a leader hone their ability to communicate:

Active listening skills

Active listening skills refer to the ability to consciously participate in the information retention process. This differs from passive listening, which typically involves only collecting a portion of the information that your conversation partner is relaying to you. To receive and remember the most possible information from an exchange, you may want to offer affirmational feedback, such as 'I understand' or 'I see'. This variety of feedback communicates to your conversation partner that you're paying attention to what they're saying. This could also help you engage in the conversation and activate your retention ability.

Example: If you're listening to one of your team member's suggestions for improvement, they may become uncomfortable if you don't communicate with them, as they may feel like they're giving a presentation rather than having a conversation. Responding appropriately and perhaps offering your own perspective on the given topic can help your team member understand that you're engaging with them and actively retaining what they're telling you.

Related: 10 Important Social Skills to Have (Definition and Examples)

Storytelling skills

Storytelling skills involve communicating a narrative in a consumable and interesting way. If you would like to impart an emotion on your team members, such as pride or satisfaction, offering your information in the form of a narrative can make your message more effective. Storytelling can also be helpful for establishing a friendly atmosphere between you and your team members, which can help them feel more comfortable and appreciated at work. Sharing personal anecdotes may encourage your team members to share their own, which can help to create a team dynamic that ultimately improves productivity.

Example: You were recently put in charge of a new team. None of the team members know each other, and for that reason, they're hesitant to express themselves around one another. To open communication, you could invite all of your team members to an informal meeting and tell them a story. You could talk about an interesting conversation you had, an inspiring anecdote about improving yourself or your situation or perhaps how you feel about being a part of this new team. Good storytelling skills can help convey your message clearly and make it more emotionally resonant.

Open-mindedness skills

Offering your team members an open-minded perspective can help them feel as though you're genuinely interested in what they have to say. Based on the nature of your relationship with them, they may inherently feel as though you intend to judge their behaviour, which can make them uncomfortable with speaking with you. Open-mindedness can mean that you're willing to hear their perspective without judgement, which some employees may prefer. This correlates with your ability to adapt your communication style according to whom you're speaking. Some team members may appreciate a critical take on their ideas.

Example: You're speaking to two team members during a meeting. One team member is expressing the way they believe they perform their work most effectively, while the other team member is expressing their desire to improve their work ethic. You could respond to the former employee by absorbing and accepting their sharing, but then you could offer the latter employee critique that could help them improve. Understanding when to criticise and when to listen can greatly affect your leadership communication.

Empathy and positivity skills

Empathy allows you to understand team members' perspectives and adapt your responses accordingly. Understanding how to respond positively can help to boost team morale. In combination, these skills provide you insight into the team's needs so that you can effectively respond and improve each team member's relationship with their work.

Example: If a team member is expressing discontent at their workload at the moment, you can ask them to explain how they would prefer to change the team's workflow. Perhaps they believe that another team member would help to increase productivity and remove some of the pressure from their daily workload. You can validate their concerns and offer whatever help is within your power to help them feel more content at their job.

Related: 16 Good Communicator Characteristics (and How to Become One)

Delegation skills

An effective leader typically understands how to effectively delegate tasks to their team members in a fair and efficient way. Clearly explaining why you chose particular team members for certain tasks can help them understand their purpose on the team and your reasoning for believing they were the best choice for their role. By allowing your team members to understand your thought processes, you can show them that your reasoning is sound and that you're considering their skills and preferences when you make decisions.

Example: If a team member asks why you included them in an art-focused team when their background is primarily in mathematics, you can explain to them that you wanted to include an analytical perspective on the artistic team. You can explain that this team member in particular is highly adaptable and willing to share their perspective, so you believe they're the best choice for this role. This understanding can help this employee perform their work more effectively since they understand their purpose.

Related: What Are Personality Traits? (Definition, Examples and Tips)

Word choice skills

To help create a strong foundation on which to develop your professional communication, take time to critically consider your word choice after your conversations with team members. By choosing specific, friendly and non-technical language, you can refine your communication and make it more accessible to your conversation partner. You can take a moment prior to speaking or sending written communication to consider what your primary purpose of communication is. Carefully selecting the right words can help in communicating your message to your conversation partner.

Example: You're planning to hold a meeting at the end of this shift. You want your team members to ensure they have 15 minutes of spare time before their shift is over. You can write this in an email earlier in the day to give them time to finish their work 15 minutes early, and you can keep this email brief and to the point. Your team may appreciate this consideration for their time.

Related: What Is Corporate Communications and Its Primary Functions?

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