Communication is key to leading a successful and thriving team. Strong communication skills in the workplace can boost productivity, keep team morale high and ensure everyone produces their best work. As a senior executive, it’s important to communicate effectively to gain the trust of your team and succeed in the workplace. Executive coaching is a great starting point for improving your communication skills in the workplace.
Why are communication skills important for senior executives?
Strong communication skills at work keep everything running smoothly and will boost the success of your business. When everyone understands business goals, team morale is high and productivity skyrockets. A loyal, strong and supportive team is the foundation for the success of any business.
Communication is essential to being a good leader, as your staff are more likely to share ideas as they know what they say will be heard. Teams will be motivated to produce their best work as their efforts are clearly appreciated. As a leader, you need to talk with employees rather than at them, and listen to their responses. Both the success of your company and your career lie in excellent communication skills.
Top 10 communication skills for the workplace
There are a number of different communication skills for senior executives that are essential for building a strong team and ensuring workplace success. Let’s explore the most important communication skills for executives:
To communicate effectively, you need to be able to listen to your team to understand feedback, challenges and progress. Actively listen to employees by repeating back what they’re telling you to confirm your understanding. Don’t form a response in your head when someone’s speaking to you: this immediately shows that you aren’t listening.
As a senior executive, you want to avoid falling into “tell mode”. With a great deal of knowledge and experience, it’s easy to “tell” your team what to do before finding out what they already know.
For example, if an employee has encountered a problem, instead of telling them how to solve it, why not start with “what have you already tried?”. After listening to their response, you can then offer to tell them the solution or share your knowledge in that area. Then answer any questions they may have. This simple shift encourages listening, engagement and learning. This mutual respect will make you a much stronger leader.
- Regular updates
It’s important to be honest and transparent with regular company updates that show employees whether they’re on track and what work still needs to be done. These updates are also a great opportunity to celebrate any achievements, recognise hard work and boost team morale.
- Empathy and patience
It’s a great skill to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes. This allows you to understand pain points and helps you to communicate with people more effectively. Having empathy also results in being more patient with employees. Being able to calmly communicate is much more effective than being frustrated and potentially damaging relationships. You’ll be much more approachable if your team feel as though you understand their difficulties and are willing to find a solution.
- Asking questions
Move away from “tell mode” by asking questions. Instead of simply giving out information, ask open-ended questions and build a connection with your employees. Asking questions encourages employees to collaborate and comment on ideas. Even if you disagree with responses to your questions, you still need to acknowledge them. Otherwise, your team could disengage and no longer respond to questions, severing that connection.
- Communicating feedback
Giving and receiving feedback is how all employees in the workplace are able to grow and improve. Constructive feedback helps your team get better at what they do and motivates them to take criticism on board. Being able to receive feedback as a senior executive is just as important as gracefully accepting feedback and improving is an important part of your role. Regularly ask your team for feedback on your leadership skills and if there are areas you could improve on. This demonstrates your commitment to cultivating a positive working environment.
- Don’t observe selectively
Don’t just hear what you want to hear. Identifying potential issues with your team means hearing everything, the good and the bad. Never make a judgement before someone has finished talking. For example, if an employee is complaining about workload, don’t disregard it, focus on the issue and how you can help.
- Nonverbal communication
Body language is a great communication skill to master and can make you seem much more approachable to other team members. For example, a friendly tone and relaxed, open stance encourage others to speak with you, demonstrating you’re open to ideas. Maintaining eye contact shows you’re focusing on who’s talking and are confident in your own ideas.
Being respectful to your team will only boost morale and make them much more open to communication. Actively listening, using a person’s name and maintaining eye contact are all great ways to show respect. The more experience you get and the more people you lead, the more important it is to show respect to your team. Make sure you value your team and the innovative ideas they can bring to the table.
When you’re confident in your interactions with coworkers, you come across as knowledgeable and that you mean what you’re saying. Being trusted on your word is so important as a senior executive and you want your team to feel that confidence in you.
- Being open-minded
A great communicator enters all conversations with an open mind. You don’t want to just get your message across, you also want to hear new ideas and learn from your team. This open style of communication encourages your team to speak up and share ideas, helping you find the best solution and grow together. Involve your team in business decision-making to boost their interest in the project and be open-minded to their suggestions. This will only result in more successful results as employees will be motivated thanks to their involvement from the start.
How can senior executives improve communication in the workplace?
Here are some ways to boost communication skills for workplace success:
- Communication courses – our Senior Executive Coaching teaches you how to become a leader and build strong working relationships with great communication
- Creating a communication strategy – come up with an actionable plan that will improve workplace communication, whether it’s setting up regular meetings and check-ins with your team, discussing your ideas or putting in new processes. Having a plan makes the next steps easier
- Team-building exercises – a team that enjoys working together and can have fun is a great basis for strong communication. Stepping outside of the work environment and enjoying team days can spark ideas and long-lasting bonds
- Encourage feedback – giving your team the opportunity to submit anonymous feedback is a great way to open up communication. Perhaps send round a monthly survey for actionable feedback
- Performance reviews – regular performance reviews give your team the chance to see how they’re performing and how they can improve. Constructive feedback can be motivating when delivered right and will get the very best out of your team
- Clearly define goals – whenever you start a new project, make sure everyone is fully aware of the end goal and purpose. This keeps everyone on the same page and eliminates any misunderstandings
How can communication skills contribute to workplace success?
Communication skills are vital for a solid foundation in any workplace. A team that receives regular feedback will learn and perform better. When goals are clearly communicated, the end result will be much more successful. When new ideas are listened to, your workplace will continue to innovate and stay ahead. When you’re approachable, team members are able to discuss any concerns with you and ask for help when needed, minimising any mistakes further down the line.
Essentially, communication ensures a happy team that is willing to work hard as they’re appreciated regularly. Workplaces run much smoother when everyone receives regular updates and knows exactly what the company is working towards.
In short, becoming a great communicator should be at the top of your to-do list as a senior executive. Our coaching for senior executives is a great place to start for improving your communication skills.