3 Communication Habits to Make You a Better Leader

Communication Habits

Ponder and reflect on this question – do you have good habits as leader?


Being a good leader consists of many things. A key ingredient in being a great leader is effective communication. A great leader has the skills to provide motivating, influencing, and energizing communication that spans all skill and communication levels and encompasses communicating via verbal, written, and body language.


Of course we each have our own style of sending and receiving communication and part of a strategic and compelling leader is one who will find creative and inspiring ways to communicate that create desired results. The author provides several habits below that can help create better results through changes in communication methods.


A communication habit the author presents which I do like and relate to is having a hard time saying “no”. I have personally seen instances where I regretted not saying “no”.


For example, it is sometimes difficult for me to say “no” because I like to offer and provide as many offerings and services from my department as we can by providing powerful technology-related devices and software to effectively align and meet the goals of the organization. However, there are times I did not say “no” and bit off more than my department could effectively manage and produce desired results.


Another way to avoid the negative impact of saying “no” would be to help the requestor feel that they have been heard and rather than saying “no”, let the requestor know you need some time and then give it serious thought and reflection. At least then the requestor feels you have given their request its full and due diligence and consideration. This will have a far reaching effect for the requestor and for those they share their positive experience with around your organization. You will soon gain the trust and reputation to be known as a consistent, strong, and considerate leader.


I would also flip it and offer that saying “yes” can provide vast opportunities for you and your team to grow in your skills, knowledge, and experience. I have many personal experiences where I said “yes” to requests and they turned out to be incredible life-long learning skills and knowledge which provided me and my team incredible experiences that would always be remembered and treasured.


The author also talks about better communication through using different words. I will use her suggestion of utilizing the word “focused” rather than “busy” as it resonated with me that I can be perceived as a better leader by saying “I am focused” rather than “I am busy”. As I reflect on it, and if I was the receiver, I would rather hear “I am currently focused on …” rather than “I am currently too busy on …” I think you can agree it sounds better. Read below for additional details.


My hope and goal is that this post will provide seeds or nuggets (“I Power Seeds”) to inspire you to ponder and reflect on how the thoughts in this post will increase your knowledge on ways to communicate more effectively with your audience (small or large).


Enjoy the article and reflect on the three useful habits Julia Bonner offers and incorporate them into your daily processes.

Please leave your comments and feedback.


Habits of Leader



3 Communication Habits to Make You a Better Leader
By Julia Bonner


Regardless of your role, having great communication skills only improves your ability to lead. It helps you better motivate your team, create a culture of open and honest feedback, and keep people organized and on the right track.


As someone who works in public relations (and loves language), I spend a significant amount of time figuring out the most effective ways to convey messages. I’ve noticed some of the bad habits people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on both the outcomes of conversations and leaders’ credibility and confidence.


Here are three you can fix today to be a stronger leader at work:


1.  Use “Don’t” Instead of “Can’t” When Turning Down Projects

For many people, saying “no” can be one of the most difficult skills to master—and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all.


Most people often use can’t or don’t when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is exponentially better than the other.


When people say they can’t do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don’t, it expresses power in the choice.


For example, if you’re presented with a new business opportunity that serves an audience not in line with your target demographic, instead of saying, “I appreciate the opportunity, but we can’t take on this project now,” say, “We appreciate the opportunity, but don’t serve clients outside the entertainment industry.”


By phrasing your response in an empowering way, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your business.


2.  Stop Writing “Sorry for the Delay” in Emails

In 2016, journalist Marissa Miller tweeted, “Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies.”


Since then, tens of thousands have liked, retweeted, and shared her post across other social media platforms. To say it resonated would be an understatement.


I’ve had people apologize to me for a delayed response within the same day of receiving my initial message. Crazy, right?


Why are we so eager to apologize for being a reasonable communicator? It ultimately makes people sound weak and undermines their authority.


Let’s ban the phrase. Instead of writing, “Sorry for the delay,” say, “Thank you for your patience.” You can even elaborate, if appropriate, to include why you were delayed in responding: “Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps.”


This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.


3.  Tell People You’re “Focused” Instead of “Busy”

How often do you hear colleagues talk about their busy schedules?


While I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon, we can improve the way we characterize our activities so our language honors our priorities.


When people say they’re busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don’t know how to manage their time.


Instead of saying you’re busy, clearly state your priorities. That means “I’m so busy” or “Work is crazy right now” becomes “I’m traveling for an event” or “I’m focused on developing two new client proposals.”


Putting yourself back in the driver’s seat immediately makes you feel calmer and more in control.

People often don’t realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us. Making these small changes will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them. Let’s start empowering ourselves and, in turn, those around us by honoring our intentions, priorities, and full lives.


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