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Archive for leadership skills

Communication Leadership Skills

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”   ~Tony Robbins

During my seminars on Communication Leadership Skills, I am often told that communicating effectively with certain employees can be challenging. The manager’s message — even when given in a clear, concise and straightforward manner — can sometimes be misconstrued. Great managers and leaders need their message to be understood the first time. Achieving this type of clarity takes specific communication leadership skills that need to be developed and refined. While one style of communication will not fit everyone, these basic principles will provide a solid foundation for communication leadership skills that are needed to achieve ultimate success!

Listen Before You Communicate

Listening and communicating can perfectly complement each other if both skills are respected. Your message will be lost if all you do is talk at someone versus listening first to how they process information. If someone needs details in order to understand your message then share more information with them. If they are more of a bottom line type of person then edit yourself. If you are speaking to a large group then implement a medium tactic. Your employees will tend to listen more to you if you first listen to how they receive your information. By tailoring your approach you have a better chance of the information being retained versus misunderstood.

Show Empathy to Endear Your Listeners

Communication leadership skills cannot be effective without empathy. If you communicate your message that demonstrates you want to achieve understanding for a better workplace, your employees will appreciate your efforts. For example, if your employees are having a difficult time implementing a new process offer them your guidance and experience instead of mandates. While deadlines are important, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your goals if you empower your employees to find viable solutions. Communication leadership skills means taking the time to discuss the issues, finding the best solutions and working together toward successful results.

Take Out the Guesswork When You Communicate

Both managers and employees feel better when they know exactly what is being communicated. Having good communication leadership skills means you are saying precisely what you mean and it cannot be interpreted differently than the way you initially intended. This is achieved by giving clear work instructions when you delegate projects and not expecting your employees to read your mind. Realize that when you don’t include crucial information your vision can be compromised. Write out key points and give everyone the same information. That way you’ll have a quick reference in case a team member gets off track in the middle of your project.

Show Appreciation When Your Message is Heard

When employees really listen to the nuances of  your message that’s when you’ll know that your communication leadership skills have worked. Big ideas and key messages are easier to grasp, but the details can sometimes be lost, and the employees that pay attention to the entire message should be appreciated for their efforts. For example, if you tell your employees that you want to research a particular client and would like to know more about their recent mergers, some staff might see that as an opportunity to go beyond what is expected and give you a detailed report. When these occasions occur, make sure to point out this extra effort to the rest of the team by publicly thanking them. Not only will this encourage those employees to repeat their success, but also encourage others to strive for the same type of success as well.

Listening before you communicate, showing empathy, taking out communication guesswork and appreciating your employees who fully implement your message will always make your communication leadership skills shine!

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert, Motivational Speaker

An internationally recognized award-winning speaker, Colleen Kettenhofen is the author of the book, Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You, as well as 10 unique audio programs available at

A Portland, Oregon-based motivational speaker, Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 fun and entertaining programs before thousands in 48 states and six countries. She has served as a keynote speaker for conferences, corporate meetings, associations, Native-American tribes, and non-profits. Colleen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (971)212-0479.

You don’t need a title to be a leader.
~ Multiple Attributions

You may have learned important skills while you were in school; however, chances are, they didn’t teach you how to be a leader. Although technical skills are important, they’re only a part of your career development puzzle. Leadership skills are what will set you apart from the pack and boost you to the top of your career field. This is why leadership skills development is so important, and everyone has room for improvement.

Practice Good Listening Skills for Leadership Skills Development

If you want to be an effective leader, where people listen to you, you need to begin by listening to them. One of the most important areas of leadership skills development is improving your listening skills. When you listen to someone, give them your full attention, ask questions to confirm you’re hearing what they’re saying correctly, and watch your body language.

Take Initiative for Chances to Develop Your Leadership Skills

Leadership skills development also involves taking the initiative to take on leadership roles. Although you may be assigned leadership positions that can help you improve your skills, don’t wait for others to offer these opportunities. Volunteer for projects, both within your job scope and for multifunctional projects, and take the lead role to get leadership experience. Even if you’re already in a leadership position, by leading new people, you learn ways to deal with different personalities and challenges.

Great Leadership Inspires Others

Inspiring others is another key step in leadership skills development. The difference between a manager and a true leader is this – A manager tells people what to do and ensures it is done. A leader inspires people to want to things that need to be done. Inspire those around you. Learn what motivates them. Recognize when others are having challenges, and address these and encourage them to persevere. Always serve as a good example.

Never Stop Learning for Career-Long Leadership Skills Development

I don’t care if you’ve been in your career two years or 22 years – never stop learning! From industry specific knowledge to dealing with difficult employees, there is always new knowledge out there for you to learn and continue in your journey of leadership skills development. Never become so arrogant to think there is nothing more you can learn. Continuously challenge yourself, and you’ll find your career that much better for it.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.