Without a doubt, strong communication skills are among the key attributes that have helped propel you to the top. After all, the top executives in your company and your colleagues won’t see your potential as a leader if you haven’t been communicating effectively with others.

Once you have taken on a higher position, you can’t let your communication skills slide or fail to use them properly.

If you want to be an effective leader and experience success as one, here are five communication mistakes you should avoid making:

1. Suddenly Disappearing

Being promoted actually means taking on more work and responsibilities.

You will have more things to do, and you will attend more planned and unplanned meetings.

Because of this, you won’t be able to answer calls and text messages immediately. There will be instances when you won’t have enough time to read and reply to emails properly.

As a result, your employees and other people will think that you have suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth.

Without your approval or disapproval, recommendations, and instructions, the efficiency of your staff and the quality of their work will be affected.

To avoid making this mistake that can have ripple effects on your department and company, make sure to slot in your daily schedule time for checking your phone and emails every two hours or so.

In case you are in a meeting or conference, use the coffee and lunch breaks to check and reply to your messages.

And even if you don’t see any missed calls or unread messages, reach out to your employees. Ask for the latest updates on the project they are working on and check if they are having any difficulties. You can do this by email or, better yet, personally when you see them in the office.

2. Providing Unclear or Insufficient Directions

Since first-time leaders tend to become easily overwhelmed by their new role and workload, they make the mistake of giving their employees instructions that are unclear or inadequate.

They might not have enough time to provide more detailed directions and simply expect their team to understand everything and do their work.

Unfortunately, giving your team unclear and inadequate directions will hurt you in the long run and will breed frustration and poor performance in your team.

As such, no matter how busy you are, take the time to thoroughly understand the project or work at hand.

Share the client or customer’s specific instructions on how to proceed with the project and provide other directions that you think will help the team come up with better results.

3. Forgetting to Listen

Active listening is a crucial component of communication. If you start talking more without listening, your efficiency and reputation as a leader will be tainted.

Whether you are having a discussion with your team, customer or client, or top executives, allow other people to speak.

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Listen to what they have to say, whether they are complaints, comments, or requests, and acknowledge them.

While listening, avoid thinking about what you want to say next. Be in the moment so that you and the person you are talking to will come to a full understanding and agreement.

4. Getting the Timing Wrong

As a leader, you will be given the task of sharing crucial pieces of information from time to time. You need to know the best time to share these bits of info to your team.

If you wait too long to share information, you risk telling employees what they already know, which can affect your credibility.

If you share information too early, you will create stress and anxiety before more details are available.

To avoid making this mistake, understand and get as many details as you can about the information you will have to reveal.

Next, think about how and when your staff will be affected by your piece of news. You should then share the information with them at the best possible time.

5. Failing to Connect with Others on a More Personal Level

Lastly, once you are a leader, you may start using more formal business speak, since you will be required to do this frequently.

However, you need to know when and when not to use this. Using corporate jargon while talking to your team or loyal customers will leave them confused, and they will soon lose interest in discussing things with you.

You can avoid this mistake by choosing the situations where you should be more formal or business-like, and where you can get more personal.

Practice your interpersonal communication skills in the workplace so that you can genuinely connect with your team.

Listening to and showing interest in what the other is saying will also help others see you as an authentic, caring leader.  And more people will respect you and take your messages more seriously if they know that you are genuine and sincere.

To be the best leader now and in the future, continue practicing your good communication skills.

Find ways to improve them as well so that they remain one of your strongest suits as you continue to climb greater heights.

How Can You Avoid Communication Mistakes?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Annick Nuyens
With over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing, Annick Nuyens first worked in the hospitality service industry and then moved to the knowledge industry. She currently works for Informa in the Dubai office, where she oversees marketing for public and in-house training courses, conferences, exhibitions and managed events across the Middle East and Africa.