Effective Communication Skills for Managers in the Workplace and How to Improve Them

In the dynamic and complex landscape of the modern workplace, effective communication skills are critical for managers seeking to succeed as leaders. The ability to convey information, ideas, and feedback to your team members can significantly impact team morale, productivity, and overall workplace success.

Yet, not all managers are endowed with these skills, and even those who are can face communication challenges as the demographics of employees change.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of effective communication skills for managers in the workplace, examine common communication obstacles that managers may encounter, and offer practical recommendations for improving communication skills. By implementing these, you can augment your capacity to communicate adeptly with your teams, establish strong relationships, and achieve organizational goals.

Indian corporate leader manager leading virtual business team work meeting, diverse workers group conference online remote video call. Over shoulder videoconference on laptop screen view

Understanding the Importance of Good Communication Skills for Managers

People seek to be heard, which will only be possible if people know how to listen to others. It is a two-way street where people should give and take, and this is where communication skills come in.

In the workplace, people must feel enabled to share their ideas and opinions and speak up freely. Communications in the workplace encompass a wide range of activities, including conveying information, giving feedback, delegating tasks, and building relationships with team members. Furthermore, modern communication in the workplace involves various communication channels, such as email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and social media, which require managers to expand their leadership communication skills to connect effectively over mediums.

Good communication skills promote building trust and connection, openly sharing ideas, understanding people to overcome divisions and differences, and many other benefits. Poor communication accomplishes precisely the opposite.

Gallup statistics show “only 7% of U.S. workers strongly agree that communication is accurate, timely, and open where they work.”

Further research revealed that communication is far from ideal in most organizations and can even be a driving force in employees’ decisions to leave the company.

Trust and Psychological Safety

According to Harvard Business Review, team psychological safety is the common conviction among team members that taking chances, voicing their opinions and worries, asking questions, and owning up to mistakes are all accepted without fear of repercussions.

The basic idea of trust and psychological safety is people in your organization have nothing to be afraid of when communicating with the boss and co-workers. Voicing out is not labeled as rebellion or disrespect, and having psychological safety is necessary to foster innovation and build relationships.

When people at the workplace work in harmony and are not anxious about communicating their thoughts and the messages they want to convey, it naturally leads to high-performing teams.

7 Essential Communication Skills for Effective Leadership

Good communication skills can be developed at your own pace, one step at a time. By doing so, you and the people around you will benefit and feel the impact. With effective workplace communication, you will establish more authentic and trusting connections and give critical and constructive feedback to help teams improve and handle conflicts effortlessly.

7 Essential Communication Skills for Effective Leadership

1. Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communication skills are essential for managers to build strong relationships with colleagues and subordinates as well as motivate them and help them reach their goals. A manager who can develop good interpersonal communication skills can create an environment that encourages collaboration, open dialogue, and team building.

Some pointers for you:

  • Get to know your team and their interests.
  • Be aware of diversity and preferences.
  • Demonstrate care and concern, and cultural sensitivity in the communication process.

2. Non-verbal Communication Skills

Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills are just some of the leadership skills you need to have. Improving your nonverbal communication (non-verbal cues, body language, and facial expressions) to support your communication is necessary to help you develop more trust with people.

Some pointers for you:

  • Ensure congruence and alignment between your verbal and nonverbal.
  • Maintain eye contact to appropriately enhance communication.
  • Engage the audience visually to retain their attention.

3. Listening Skills

We often overlook the importance of listening in communications, assuming presentation skills are the most important when it’s not. Great communication skills begin with great listening. To build trust and rapport, leaders need to be active listeners.

Some pointers for you:

  • Seek to understand and ask clarifying questions.
  • Paraphrase what you have to indicate that you are listening, as this will increase employee engagement.
  • Listen without passing judgment or forcing your own ideas or suggestions.

4. Leadership Storytelling Skills

People are naturally driven by emotions, and stories have an unmatched capability of captivating far more than statistics or figures. Harnessing the power to craft a gripping narrative is an invaluable asset that will help you get people on board, form strong relationships, and build trust with your people.

Some pointers for you:

  • Enhance the effectiveness of your fact-based sharing by leveraging leadership storytelling skills.
  • Keep to one core idea per communication, as a confused audience indicates poor communication.
  • Create a culture of trust by genuinely engaging and involving people through compelling stories.

Our Leadership Storytelling – Get to Yes online course will help you smoothly build trustworthiness and express your distinct value succinctly without feeling overwhelmed. Click here to check out the course.

5. Comprehension and Synthesis Skills

For any manager to be effective, strong synthesis capabilities are a must. Synthesis is the capacity to take complex information, break it down and draw meaningful results. Managers need this skill set to comprehend how different parts of data link with each other, recognize trends rapidly and make wise decisions when managing their team or organization. A Mckinsey report found that employment was most strongly associated with proficiency within the communication domain, including synthesizing messages.

Some pointers for you:

  • Communicate something complex in a simple way.
  • Reduce the use of jargon and hifalutin words in your presentations.
  • Highlight the learning point and connections that the audience must get.

Part of our leadership Storytelling – Get to Yes Global Online Course is designed to enable you to simplify complex ideas for more effective communication. Check out the course here for more information.

6. Affirmation Skills

In certain cultures, leaders might not feel comfortable about praising people. Too often, we underestimate the power of praising people who have put in the hard work. A study from Gallup has highlighted that managers who give strengths-focused feedback encourage people to do a more excellent job.

Some pointers for you:

  • Look out for what your team has done right and appreciate them.
  • Praise them immediately, do not set them aside for later when you can easily forget.
  • Be specific about your praise and let them know you see their efforts.

7. Communicating Concisely

Communicating clearly is one of the essential communication skills that managers need to have. You might think this is easy, but we often encounter managers who lack such communication skills in our international practice. One barrier is that leaders are clouded by their assumptions and assume others would understand what they mean. As the workplace becomes more diverse, leaders will find that incorrect assumptions will get in the way more often. Communicating clearly also requires leaders to think more clearly, and choose their words wisely to achieve the intended impact.

Some pointers for you:

  • Write down the key points you want to communicate. Keep to just a few important ones.
  • List down the possible objections, and think about how to overcome them
  • State your assumptions about the listeners. For instance, what are their prior beliefs about what you will communicate? How will you close this gap?
A business series set in various locations in a modern workspace office building.

Improve Your Communications with Leadership Storytelling

Under one of the five pillars of agile leadership, we offer leadership storytelling training to international leaders.

Unlike typical storytelling or public speaking training, leadership storytelling is about giving you the communication skills that will increase your impact and effectiveness as you communicate on a daily basis.

Here are some of the numerous benefits you can expect from our Leadership Storytelling – Get to Yes training:

1. Clear and Concise Communication

Poor communication skills are one of the root causes of the conflicts that arise in the workplace. When communication is precise and specific, it helps to eliminate any uncertainty or confusion among your team members, enabling everyone to work together seamlessly. In our leadership storytelling training, we show you how to select and sequence the content you want to deliver and ensure that your audience understands the message. You will be succinct yet articulate when conveying dense and fact-based information.

2. Build Trust, Rapport, and Connection

There is no leadership when there is no trust. We address this gap through the leadership storytelling-telling training by giving your pointers on to use active listening and responding to build trust. Trust with your coworkers will dissolve many friction and misunderstandings, pacing the way for seamless collaboration.

3. Create an Authentic Leadership Brand with Compelling Stories

Stories are valuable in captivating your audience, tug at their emotions, and guarantee that they remember your message. This is an invaluable leadership quality that can aid you in communicating more effectively. Leadership Storytelling helps you build a strong leadership brand.

4. Persuade and Influence with Ease

One of the important communication skills is to influence and persuade. When leaders need to bring about change, they need to be able to motivate others to take action. Persuasion and influence are hence irreplaceable asset in the workplace, and a lack thereof can produce damaging consequences both to individuals within the team and to the company as a whole. In Leadership Storytelling, we teach you how you can craft a communication plan strategically, specifically tailored for your unique teams so that you foster understanding, create openness, break down barriers, and ensure effective collaboration.

5. Speak like a Thought Leader

Some leaders are interested in enhancing their presence on the international stage. Leadership storytelling coupled with our 1-to-1 coaching is designed to sharpen your communication skills, equipping you with the crucial tools for developing and maintaining successful models of communication. You will discover your best on-stage persona, utilize nonverbal communication skills, and respond to difficult questions thoughtfully. All these abilities can help make you an even more effective communicator and persuasive leader.

Build trust faster, get buy-in and aligned action faster through our online course Leadership Storytelling – Get to Yes. This might just be the breakthrough you have been waiting for to improve your communication skills.

In conclusion, communication skills are an essential part of a manager’s role in the workplace. With these 7 key skills, managers can foster trust and alignment among their team members, create a healthy work environment, and increase productivity. It takes time to learn and practice these skills, but with dedication and patience, you can master them.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Take advantage of Chuen Chuen’s extensive experience coaching leaders worldwide and her deep expertise in designing agile leadership corporate training solutions for your teams. No matter which stage of leadership you are at, we can partner with you and meet your business needs. Explore our executive coaching programscorporate training coursesor hire Chuen Chuen as your speaker so that your organization will become agile and adaptive.

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