Business scholars call communication the most essential skill for executives. Research has shown that leaders spend more than 75 percent of their time communicating. As part of personal leadership, unique communication skills must be developed to become exceptional leaders.
Sunnie Giles is the founder and president of Quantum Leadership Group – a company that provides executive coaching and leadership training. Giles recently explained that communication is a skill that most leaders need to improve. According to Giles, poor communication trickles down through organizations, costing large enterprises as much as $9.3 billion, or $26,000 per employee. Meanwhile, organizations spend billions of dollars a year on leadership training, with results that are often short-lived. To help you on your journey to becoming a true leader, we have listed his words for you.
If these statistics are correct, then communication seems to be a very essential part of leadership. But what makes communication so difficult? What are effective communication secrets that the best leaders possess? What are the leadership practices they consistently use? These are the questions Giles was obsessed with as he worked with and coached Fortune 500 companies. The answers reflect both science and art. I have seen practices of excellent leaders who are highly self-aware, flexible, and adaptable and who balance between chaos and stability. I designate these men and women as Quantum Leaders. Most of them continue until they become genuinely extraordinary leaders. They are well aware that they must first learn on their own to communicate successfully with others. The first five skills relate to self-management, and the next five relate to managing relationships.
1.They choose beliefs that lead to positive mental models.
Quantum leaders understand how their choices lead to their emotional experience of the world and their mental state. If they choose to believe they are victims, they will feel helpless and alienated from others. If they decide to think they are unfit to be leaders, they feel depressed, disconnected from others, and lack confidence. By choosing positive mental models for themselves, top managers manage to live up to our beliefs and achieve positive results.
2. They rely on the wisdom of their bodies.
Quantum leaders have developed a high level of emotional awareness. They can identify the feeling and location of emotion in their bodies. Emotions are inextricably linked with physiological sensations. When we are not consciously engaged, our feelings and bodies separate, causing discomfort or confusion. Top officials can recognize this inconvenience, trace it to the source, and solve the problem. They constantly nurture the personal awareness necessary to communicate effectively.
3. They are not afraid to be authentic.
Quantum leaders boldly open up to others. It takes equal measures of confidence and humility to be vulnerable. Vulnerability, in turn, creates security, frees the organization from struggles for survival, and helps everyone unleash innate creativity, drive, and self-organization. Top executives refuse to hide behind polite discomfort. They create safety for others by openly offering different views.
4. They never accuse or blame others.
Quantum leaders take responsibility for their emotions. As masters of their feelings, they consciously decide how they will respond. They have developed enough emotional awareness to recognize that the “you make me, so X” statement is nonsense. That’s why they never blame others for how they feel. By practicing focused awareness, Quantum leaders avoid blaming others by not projecting their leftover negative mental models from past experiences.
5. They are grounded and centered.
Quantum leaders are constant, like a 300-year-old oak tree that won’t be uprooted by the strongest storms. While listening, they are not triggered to give their own opinion about what others are saying and to respond automatically. They can imagine what it must be like for the other person by putting themselves in their shoes. At the same time, they are comfortable in their own shoes and therefore do not try to please others. When others express their needs, the Quantum Leader doesn’t turn it around and doesn’t make it about him or her. When a team member state, “I don’t feel fulfilled in my work,” Quantum Leader does not hear, “You are a bad leader.” Instead, they hear, “I need help.” This ability to be grounded creates safety for others and makes each person’s reality exist with equal merit.
6. They are unforgivable about their limits.
Quantum leaders know where they end, and others begin. They don’t feel guilty about clearly identifying their needs. They don’t try to please others at the expense of their self-esteem. They are equally respectful of the needs of others. They do not attack and take other people’s boundaries for granted or expect more than what good boundaries guarantee. They are highly differentiated, respecting the unique perspectives of others and diversity of expression.
7. They listen to the emotion behind the words.
Quantum leaders don’t pay as much attention to the words themselves as they do to the emotion behind those words. Identifying the underlying feeling eliminates the defenses or pretexts. It helps others quickly cut through all the noise between them and the core problem.
8. They are curious, not judgmental.
While you listen to emotions, Quantum leaders are curious about all possibilities. Suppose a coworker comes across as irrational, ridiculous, or exaggerated. In that case, these leaders become curious and carefully explore what’s happening without jumping to conclusions. They know that judgment eliminates opportunities for important discovery and learning. During this discovery, they can put their emotions aside and give full attention to the other. They can empathize with what must have happened to someone to come across as so irrational then, and they can validate that reality for the person.
9. They see patterns
Quantum leaders focus on what others say (content) on the one hand and on the interaction pattern (process) on the other. They constantly scan themselves, other people, and processes to identify patterns and changes in these patterns. Through this constant, unbiased observation, these extraordinary leaders recognize early indicators of an underlying problem. They then use their non-biased curiosity to discover the source and proactively manage the situation. They can distance themselves from the situation to study it.
10. They create security and connection.
Quantum leaders know that the most critical task in their organization is to create security and connection, in which members feel free to unleash their innate creativity, innovation, and passion. Whether delivering a message to the entire organization or within a face-to-face conversation, Quantum leaders provide a sense of unity. They cherish the people under their wings. Top executives create a culture that does not tolerate behaviors threatening the importance of security and belonging, such as bullying, kingdom building, or favoritism.
In addition to these skills, which can be discovered in any excellent leader, leaders ensure that all internal processes run smoothly. For example, no data leak occurs by properly organizing information security and ensuring that risk management plays a vital role within the organization.