Talk Like a Leader: 7 Steps from Good to Great

You may be really good at your job, with all the signs of being promoted. But as an up-an-coming manager, if you lack great communication skills, you’re not going to make it into leadership positions.

You may deserve to be promoted, but you’ll get passed over. Unless you can talk the talk, people won’t get a chance to see you walk the walk. Both are necessary: leadership skills AND a high level of competency in communicating.

When I’m working as an executive coach, many times improving a few communication skills will make a big difference in how others perceive someone. Often, especially if one is “a man of few words,” a person doesn’t leave a strong impression. (Of course, it could also be a woman who prefers to be conservative in conversations.)

It can also hurt when a manager is too chatty, talks too much, and leaves nothing out. Both types can learn to be more strategic in their communication styles.

What communication skills leave a strong impression that someone is prime for leading others?

  1. Knowing the issues your organization is facing, is a first step. This is crucial, of course. Then, you need to continually refer to these big issues when you talk with people.
  2. As often as possible, what you say should echo the vision, mission and business strategies of your company. Unless you’ve re-read them recently, you may be fuzzy on this.
  3. Make references to where the organization is headed, how it will get there, and what people need to be doing in order to get there.
  4. Develop and reinforce a bond of trust. This means asking questions, listening to others, and using empathy as often as possible.
  5. Facilitate communications among others. If you see a potential benefit in arranging for others to meet, volunteer an introduction.
  6. Let people know why you care about the business, what really matters to you. Your enthusiasm (and your other emotions) is contagious. You can get others as excited as you are about making a difference in the work they do.
  7. Express things in concrete terms, such as specific numbers and desired results. People can’t achieve goals unless they are clear.

You can’t effectively influence others without giving people reasons to want to embrace strategies and give their all. Most people I work with sincerely want the best for their organizations, but often lack great communication skills to impart strong emotional buy-in.

These things can be learned, especially when the foundational competencies are there within. Sometimes, all that’s needed for a manager to shine through brilliantly is a little coaching and polishing.

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  1. […] In Talk Like a Leader: 7 Steps from Good to Great, Chip Scholz shared seven communication skills that leave a strong impression that you are a great […]

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