Working with teams and customers every day, I learned the importance of communication by serving people from different generations and cultures. The hospitality business brings a wonderful opportunity to learn about people from all over the world and engage to connect with everyone you meet in a memorable way.
Being an effective communicator is a must for all leaders. Through effective communication, great leaders build trust and work on relationships together. Without effective communication, your leadership and relationships can take a whole new meaning.
All of us at some point or another had someone who modeled effective communication, but also created a space for inclusion and collaboration on the team we serve. When I first became a manager in the hotel industry, I thought communication was about sharing as much information with my team as possibly can. Little did I know that it’s only a small part of communicating effectively with the people I serve and inspire to greatness.
As I began to work on my leadership skills, I realized that there is more to communication by cultivating relationships and becoming more self-aware of how my own communication can influence others.
Communication can be a life-long learning skill but if your job and your leadership is dependent on it, you better find ways to develop it in every area of your life. With so many ways to communicate today-emails, text messaging and video conferencing, communication is still a challenge for many leaders.
So why so many leaders fail to communicate effectively? Dianna Booher, a communication expert, consultant and the author of the book “What More Can I Say?”, says that many people think being a great communicator equates to having charisma or just thinking you can have a really good rapport with someone can do the trick.
Charismatic leadership can be short sighted. The real work of leadership is the credibility, integrity and trust of the person communicating day in and day out with the people they serve. If your actions and words are not matched to leading people effectively, your charisma would never help you. People are usually very skeptical of charismatic leaders as they learned they can spin the truth and their credibility falls short of their actions.
So, what does it take to become a great leader who can communicate effectively? Here are a few suggestions to help you understand the realm of great communication:
In my interview with Dianna Booher, she shares that being a great communicator boils down to trust. Honest communication which is what people are looking for in a great leader is all about trust and competence. Ask yourself, how does my communication with people breeds trust and credibility with not only what I say, but I what I do? People will follow someone who speaks the truth and match their actions to walk their talk.
Another suggestion for becoming a great communicator is to encourage collaboration and an environment that fosters learning. Dianna Booher says, “It takes a great leader to lead by asking questions and build collaboration.” Being a great leader and communicator does not mean you know all the answers. Find ways to build the collective intelligence around your organization and your leadership will gain currency. Not only because you are interested in other people’s insights, but continuously challenging your own assumptions and connecting to build relationships.
Lastly, be a great listener. As I mentioned earlier, being an effective communicator is not measured by how much you said, but how much you listened. Listening creates trust, because you are willing to be vulnerable to just be quiet and seek to understand people better. When people feel valued, acknowledged and heard, your communication skills get better as a leader.
You can watch the interview with Dianna Booher below: