Top 10 Communication Skills Every Manager Needs to Have
Managers don’t have it easy. They need to be multi-talented. Here, we'll explore the top 10 communication skills every manager needs to have.
Managers don’t have it easy. They need to be multi-talented creatures with a long list of both intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills that serve them well during stressful situations. At the core of intrapersonal communication is the self-concept, e.g. personal values, beliefs and behaviours. It also reflects a person’s ability to correctly interpret other people’s attitude and manage adequate self-expectations. On the other hand, the interpersonal skill palette includes communication, conflict management, empathy and leadership qualities. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 communication skills every manager needs to have.
From my experience working in a bespoke software development company, I know that it takes a combination of both intra- and interpersonal qualities to be a successful manager. Some of them are innate, while others can be learned and strengthened with years of experience. However, lacking a vital communication skill, e.g. effective negotiation, might pose a significant challenge for anyone who aspires to become a better manager. Here is a list of the top 10 essential communication skills you’ll need to develop:
1 Active Listening
Active listening skills are an inseparable communication asset for every manager. The concept refers to a technique where the listener reflects the interlocutor’s factual and emotional speech aspects. Especially with complex and challenging business topics, this form of conversation builds mutual trust and improves the overall communication process. With active listening, it is also possible to initiate a change in the behaviour of the conversation partner, e.g. lean the attention towards a critical work aspect such as an important project or a meeting.
2 Confidence: Communication Skills For a Manager
Exerting confidence is extremely important for leadership positions. Thankfully, confidence is a skill that can be learned through practice. You have to be aware of who you are, what you can do, your role in the company and how it relates to your teammates. The second you doubt yourself, it starts to show in your communication style and can possibly lead to poorer performance. Two key processes contribute to stable confidence. The first one is the perception of yourself and your inner strengths. For instance, do you acknowledge your talents, skills, achievements etc.? The second one has to do with how you evaluate this perception. How you interpret your traits and behaviour? Do you appreciate your strengths or feel less accomplished than others?
3 Feedback Skills
Feedback is a two-way street, and managers have to give and receive adequate feedback that helps them and their teammates grow professionally. Giving and receiving feedback is one of the foundations of constructive communication and is central to each thriving organisation. It serves to clarify misunderstandings, improve personal qualities, set goals and formulate claims and expectations. That is why I think it deserves its spot in the top three communication skills for managers to master. As a leader, take some time and learn how to properly give feedback to motivate your employees to perform even better and achieve outstanding results.
4 Networking Skills
Establishing strong professional relationships is also an integral part of being a successful manager. Although maintaining these has become rather difficult in the current Covid-19 pandemic, working online also has some amazing benefits if you wish to work on your networking skills from the comfort of your home. Be proactive and google online conferences that you can meet through leaders and grow your professional network. Exchange opinions and discuss important trends depending on the industry you’re working in, and with time you’ll notice how your communication improves.
5 Responsiveness: Communication Skills For a Manager
Take a moment and think about your current state of work responsiveness. As a communication skill, being responsive refers to being attentive and promptly respond to your teammate’s questions. Everyone has come across managers with busy schedules who don’t return calls for days or don’t read your emails at all. When a teammate reaches out to you, it is crucial to find a minute and respond. Even simple responses like: “Hi, I got your call, I’m in a meeting and will call you back tomorrow to discuss the matter” or “I can’t give you a straight answer right away but will follow up as soon as I know more” will temporarily suffice and leave your teammates with a feeling that you’re interested with their issues.
You probably know that assertiveness is an essential communication skill. But what makes you an assertive person? Let’s say you have an idea how to improve an existing service by reducing delivery time by a week. Clients will be happier, the business will achieve better KPIs, employees will get higher bonuses etc. This all sounds perfect, except for one key aspect. If you can’t express your ideas effectively enough or stand your ground when you hear criticism, they will never turn into reality. That’s why it is wise to boost your assertive skills by learning how to create win-win situations without direct confrontations or back talks.
Being a good leader requires you to constantly adapt to changing business conditions and client’s requirements. The pandemic was a great example of a flexibility lesson for the whole world. Each business had to reorganise its workflow, switch to remote-working if possible and adapt. On a smaller scale, as a manager, you also have to possess a certain degree of flexibility. Skilful communicators know when to listen, elaborate on their ideas or when the conversation becomes pointless. Although flexibility might sometimes involve high-stress tolerance, it is worth acquiring this skill to balance your other qualities.
8 Empathy: Communication Skills For a Manager
An article published in Harvard Business Review states that empathy begins with curiosity. 2020 lockdowns pushed us to our limits, revealed our inner fears and insecurities. However, the pandemic also showed us how to treat others with more respect, empathy and tolerance because we’re all going through similar challenges. With unstable markets and fluctuating financial charts, managers have to make tough decisions. Although they might be challenging to develop, empathy skills will make you both a better person and a better manager.
9 Body Language
Body language has to do with every communication element that is not verbal. This includes body posture, face mimicry, gestures, tone of voice, and registering emotional cues while others talk to you. Mastering the art of body language will set you on the path to becoming a more successful manager. To do that, you can try practical exercises while you’re at home and then test your natural reactions in a familiar environment and then practice them in your office with colleagues.
10 Respective Attitude
There is an old saying that advises you to treat others the way you want to be treated. After all, we are all human beings with rights and responsibilities, and everyone wants to be treated with respect. No matter what working environment your company cultivates, whether you are team-spirited or you encourage competition, treat all your employees with respect as they all make valuable contributions to the whole organisation.