The Point: Does having the necessary qualifications and certification in your field guarantee job security? While as a leader you know good education improves your chances of getting hired, staying on that job and being promoted is an entirely different animal. Leadership communication skills typically requires dignity, perseverance, and most importantly, communication skills training for leaders. This is the total package of leadership development, which is perhaps the only way of achieving long-term success. Likewise, failing to learn essential communication skills spells doom for everyone in the organization, including C-Suite executives. This article lists communication five (5) blunders that can (and should!) jeopardize an executive’s career… Enjoy!
#5 Flirting on the Job
It should go without saying, but a leader we met with last week was unceremoniously dismissed from this organization of 10+ years because he flirted on the job. Many actually see flirting as a way to climb up the corporate ladder. Here at the Tip of the Spear Ventures firm, we don’t promote Machiavellian, Venus, or even Cupid-like tactics. Instead, we look to provide genuine leadership development education through the proven Leadership Challenge methodology. Hence, take our advice and refrain from flirting, as it can easily be taken the wrong way (I’m not certain there is a “right” way here!)
#4 Emailing News That Is Best Delivered in Person
As a leader unfortunately we have to at times deliver bad news (Hopefully this is the minority of the time). This bad news could include something significant to the organization’s employee structure, such as layoffs. When you deliver such news via email, stakeholders (those being relieved of their duties, as well as those staying) will obviously lack body language and other non-verbal clues needed to deal with the emotional response following the message. As a leader, there also will be an opportunity for you to stand and face the unpleasant music (See point #3 below). That is why as a leader you should always convey bad news in person, and picking up clues from the recipient’s body language and facial expressions whether they are comprehending the key parts of the message or not. Clarity could go a long way in minimizing long-term disruption.
#3 Shying Away from Difficult Conversations
This follows from the previous point. But along with delivering bad news, a leader also needs to give negative feedback from time to time. When you avoid such conversations, you are giving way for small problems to escalate into larger ones that will ultimately reflect negatively on you. So, deal with negative behavior head-on. First listen to what the employee has to say about his performance (listening being a key leadership communication skill as well) and see whether the issue is genuine or not. In any case, you need to have the ability to communicate assertively in order to be heard by your workforce.
#2 Not Maintaining Eye Contact
Everyone knows that you listen with your ears, but maintaining eye contact is essential to let the other person feel that you are actually listening. Body language matters when it comes to leadership communication skills. Hence, if you fail to maintain eye contact, this not only is considered a sign of disrespect, but people will also think that you are a (to use the term) ‘shady’ person.
#1 Beat Around the Bush Messages
Finally, a sign of effective communication is the right choice of words so that you can communicate your message in the shortest amount of words possible. Think of Twitter: If you had to deliver your message in 140 characters or less, what would you say? How would you say it? This is a trait to be sought in the fast-paced corporate world of today. On the other hand, going on ceaselessly about a single point makes people think that don’t know what you are talking about.
In short, without effective communication skills training for leaders, you are not likely to last long and achieve your full potential in the work environment, no matter how high you stand in the organizational hierarchy. You need to be respectful of your employees and use nonverbal cues when communicating, such as eye contact. Most importantly, you should have the ability to both encourage and discipline stakeholders.
If you’d like more information on Tip of the Spear Ventures’ Communicate with Influence series, specifically aimed at communication skills training for leaders, use the CONTACT US page of this website.