What is the Key to Great Leadership?

Joe Weinlick
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From Ronald Reagan to Winston Churchill, great leaders throughout history have convinced their followers to work towards a single vision thanks to their ability to put their thoughts and ideas into words. A great leader must possess a number of qualities to efficiently lead a team and achieve a set of goals, but communication stands as one of the key skills for effective leadership.

Great leaders should be able to communicate what their core vision is and how they plan to achieve it. This allows them to rally supporters and create a cohesive team with a central focus. Although captivating speeches are often the first thing that comes to mind when leaders think of good communication, conversation is far more important.

As a leader, aim to be personal and engaging when speaking with team members, listening to their concerns and discussing ideas with genuine empathy. This shows that you care about each team member while building trust, but it also gives you the opportunity to show good character and passion in your leadership role. Frequent conversation is necessary for developing meaningful relationships with team members.

Whether you are giving a speech or sending out an email, each message should be well-reasoned with a high level of understanding and research. Great leaders know that communication is more about helping the team to improve than sharing opinions. Leaders should strive to show gratitude, recognize progress, provide reassurance and clear up doubts on a regular basis.

Great leaders always use specific, clear language when explaining goals, objectives and methods. Ambiguity can make leaders look like they are hiding something. Although leaders need to effectively spread their vision and ideas, they also need to be open-minded to feedback from workers. Open-mindedness is not a sign of weakness, but one of flexibility, as a team or organization often needs to evolve with the changing needs of its workers and target public.

Great leaders should also be receptive to incoming signals from team members, paying attention to things like how workers use body language and approach certain topics in order to gauge their confidence and needs. Team members expect leaders to combine promises with results, so create an atmosphere of getting things done while developing team-building and decision-making skills.

Learning communication skills is an important part of becoming a leader, but leaders also need to develop a strong sense of focus so they can keep their team on track. They need to build the courage to take risks and responsibility, and they must be honest to gain the trust of their team.

To be a well-rounded leader, remember that great leaders think of their team members first rather than being consumed by their own egos. Leaders must help team members become better workers so they can achieve a common goal, and communication skills are the glue that holds the team together.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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