Whether you have an official management role or informally lead a work group or team, effective communication skills are essential to your success in a leadership position. Managers use communication to build one-on-one relationships with subordinates, project a professional presence, get everyone headed in the same direction, and garner feedback from employees.
Over the long-term, managers succeed when they establish positive relationships with peers, clients, associates and subordinates. In orienting and motivating an employee, the manager must use communication skills to establish rapport and to make the employee feel important. The more you get to know your employees, the more likely they are to respond well to your directions. Informal conversation in the break room can also contribute to positive work relationships.
Your communication skills also contribute to your ability to project a professional image inside and outside your organization. Making eye contact and articulating messages clearly not only aid you in message delivery, but also show confidence. When you communicate well as a leader, you have a better ability to command respect from your workers, associates and clients. Employees can become frustrated if a manager fails to communicate important facets of department or group activities.
A key role of a manager, whether at the top, middle or lower-level ranks, is to communicate a vision and to establish goals. Essentially, a leader sets the path and then inspires his workers to follow. The company CEO develops the vision or plan for the company's future and then sets and communicates objectives to other managers. Those managers then develop departmental or group objectives to align with those of the company. Getting everyone on board is key.
Communication isn't a one-way street and effective leaders also listen well. In particular, they show genuine interest in the ideas and opinions of their workers. Some of the best ideas in a company come from the front lines. Managers should also come across as approachable to employees for feedback and requests for coaching. A "management by walking around" approach also puts the manager in a great position to have regular, routine interaction with employees as issue or ideas come up.