In a training session on communication and leadership I attended a few years ago, the trainer popped the question, “the managers we find today, how do you classify them? Answers provided were on the lines of hardworking, passionate, committed, and people oriented. The trainer further probed, “Have you observed these managers can be classified broadly as must-have and good to have?” He explained the must-have managers are those who are critical for the organisation for their skill, knowledge and experience. Good to have managers are those who have these plus are excellent communicators. It gives them an added advantage.
How communication or the lack of it is impacting global political leadership landscape is very visible to us. It has taken a new dimension and meaning. One aspect several political leaders have mastered is to get their audience involved. They have become more creative here over the years. While one size fits all type of communication some political leaders’ practice may work in politics, it is unlikely to work in the workplace.
We know how important it is for communicators to be good listeners, avid readers, be authentic, make a good impression, be open to feedback and so on. These are most certainly important and necessary. Besides, here are a few aspects I have come across in my experience that I think make leaders stand out. (These are not in any order)
Emotional maturity is often termed as a soft skill. It is an important aspect of people skills. It helps to stay calm and composed at all times. This helps in effectively resolving conflicts or addressing crisis better. In our work experience, there are enough instances of how awkward or even miserable a workplace can get if it has leaders with no emotional maturity. In some extreme situations, it also leads to higher attrition.
Sensitivity is an off shoot of emotional intelligence. On several occasions, a simple act of noticing or recognising or acknowledging goes a long way in garnering appreciation from teams and stakeholders. In the present days of hyper-communication, lack of communication or lack of transparency in communication is also seen as being insensitive. People are quick to term it as the privilege of power. Lack of sensitivity often puts a question mark on sincerity.
The Power of Observation
Observing is not just about studying one’s body language or tone of communication or manner of communication. It is not just about the choice of words or reactions. Power of observation is a daily habit or a chore. Communication does not always mean conversing or listening. It also means observing. The power of observation is understated. Observation helps in building better understanding and eventually a great relationship.
Leaders need to be aware that in all their communication, they are representing their organisation or the brand. The way they communicate represents it. Authenticity and genuineness are critical. Particularly in these trying times, leaders need to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and put some extra effort to communicate with transparency and clarity. Selective communication or no communication can be counter-productive given the kind of uncertainty everyone is facing.
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