Essential Communications Skills That Leaders Need


Being a small business owner with a team or being in a leadership position can test your communication skills. You have to be able to connect with others, so you can work together to reach common goals.

Almost 69% of leaders say they’re uncomfortable communicating with their team in general, according to Harvard Business Review.

With practice and effort, you can turn this situation around. Whether you are running your own company or if you are in a leadership role as a contractor or employee, below are some essential communication skills that every leader needs.

Speak Clearly:

  1. Plan ahead. Before you speak, take time to pause and reflect. Know your purpose, so you can develop strategies and systems that match your values. Be sure to choose appropriate times and channels for what you have to say.
  2. Simplify your message. Your team may feel overwhelmed with too much information and have a hard time processing it all. Consider using quick graphics to condense information. Format your emails and meeting notes with bullets and headlines to make them easier to read.
  3. Stay in touch. Provide frequent opportunities for updates and check-ins. Schedule team meetings and one-on-ones. Make yourself visible and approachable by keeping your Slack status active and being transparent with when you are and are not available.
  4. Tell stories. A compelling and relatable short story can inspire your team and unite them around a common mission. Build an image around one or two main points, focusing on concrete examples and emotional appeal.

Listen Closely:

  1. Pay attention. How observant are you? Being aware of your team’s needs will help you keep up with how you can support them.
  2. Ask questions. If you want to know what your team is thinking, go straight to the source. Ask open-ended questions that give others the chance to elaborate on their responses. Avoid biased wording that could influence their answers.
  3. Welcome feedback. Encourage your team to let you know how they think you are doing. Thank them for their honest and constructive input and use it to enhance your performance, in turn supporting them further. When in meetings, invite their input before making decisions and collaborate on making action plans together to make everyone feel they are contributing.
  4. Let go of judgments. What’s the difference between hearing and listening? As a leader, it’s important to use your mind as well as your ears. Let others finish what they’re saying without interrupting them. Try to put yourself in their point of view to get a better understanding of how to address the situation – think before you respond.

Other Tips:

  1. Be inclusive. Businesses need leaders who can relate to a wide variety of audiences and create an atmosphere where each team member is valued and respected. That means building real relationships and recognizing individual and group contributions.
  2. Show empathy. Authentic connections depend on caring about the needs of others and being able to understand their thoughts and feelings. Developing a culture of empathy also promotes cooperation when company challenges arise.
  3. Follow through. Actions really do speak louder than words. In order to earn trust, it’s important to lead by example. Deliver on your promises and ensure that your actions are consistent with what you say.

Resolve conflicts. Effective communication can promote harmony, but some disagreements are to be expected. Stay calm and search for solutions that are mutually beneficial.

Successful leaders know how to use their communication skills to build trust and motivate others. Expressing yourself with clarity and compassion can help you to develop strong work relationships and guide your team to success.

February 1, 2023


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