It is often said that the best leaders are good communicators, though there are several notable examples to the contrary. Still, leaders who communicate effectively tend to be admired and they have an easier time getting their teams to follow their lead. So what to do if you’re a leader but you’re a not-good communicator? And just for the record, it isn’t clear that team members will clearly communicate this to you anyway. However, as it turns out there are ways to figure out whether you are a good or bad communicator. And once you know, you can change as necessary. According to Preston Ni, a professor and a communication coach among other things, good communicators aren’t necessarily born, they can be coached – possibly by him.
In Ni’s opinion, poor communicators tend to make statements with, “You should,” “You need to,” “You’d better,” but not necessarily “You positive statements” such as, “You are amazing.” Other fighting words begin with, “You always …” or “You never,” followed by something negative. Presumably, nobody “always” does bad things or “never” does anything good. In short, good communicators avoid using universal negative statements because these types of statements tend to evoke negative feelings and reactions from team members. It causes them to freeze up or run away, which is not good for team work.
Of course this doesn’t mean that a leader cannot criticize team members. A good communicator finds a way to be tough on the issue at hand while also being “soft” on the person who committed the error. Perhaps this might be something along the lines of, “I noticed that you lost two billion dollars this week, and I really like your tie, where did you get it? Maybe we can go shopping together.” Well, this last bit isn’t what Professor Ni advises.