Leadership communication, lesson 3: Personal roadblocks to effective communication

So far in this series on leadership communication, I’ve written about six reasons why leadership communication is critical to the success of any small business and about four common problems that arise in how and when leaders communicate. Today, I want to get more personal; here are three roadblocks that some small business owners have to overcome in order to lead effectively through communicators:

1. Innate shyness that makes you avoid interacting with your staff. If talking with staff members either one-on-one or as a group is outside your comfort zone, you’re going to have a hard time initiating change and moving your company forward. And if you’re too shy to talk with your own people, this problem is undoubtedly also preventing you from creating the business development network that will drive your business forward.

But all is not lost. Shyness can be overcome; I know that for a fact because I’ve conquered that hurdle myself. Here is just one of many helpful articles you can find online about how to overcome shyness. It won’t happen overnight, but if you follow these techniques, you can come out of your shell and be capable of leading through communication.

2. Ineffective communication styles that make direct communication painful or frustrating for both sides. Many of us have had the experience of walking out of a meeting and wondering what exactly the boss was trying to tell us. And some of us have had the really bad experience of working for someone who blows up on a regular basis, which makes you terrified to be the one delivering bad news or asking for guidance on a problem.

These are just two of the many ways in which a poor communication style can make it impossible to effectively lead an organization. An inability to truly listen is another common problem that is very hazardous to effective leadership. If you are frustrated about your inability to bring about change in your business, consider whether a poor communication style is part of the problem. This may be an area where you need to get some coaching.

3. A preference for working alone. There is a big difference between being shy and afraid to communicate and being an introvert who just prefers not communicate. If you’re an introvert boss, you have to accept that fact that if you’re leading a business, communication is an important part of your job. You can’t lead from behind a closed door! To make sure you don’t overlook the importance of communication, it helps to put in place regular get-togethers with staff, such as brown bag lunches or bagel breakfasts.

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