6 Self-Affirming Skills All Leaders Need

By Louis Carter

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Self-affirming communication takes more than writing and speaking skills and it takes more than contact and eye contact. It is a highly self-rewarding skill often manifested in the best and most effective organizational leaders.

According to a McGill University study in the International Journal of Management and Business Studies (IJMBS), “Great leaders are always considered as first-class communicators, they have a clear set of values, and they always believe in promoting and inculcating those values in others. It is due to this reason that their teams appreciate them and follow them as a leader.”

Six Ways Leaders Communicate Effectively

Some leaders have the talent and power to encounter, engage, and collaborate. For some, talent comes naturally. For others, the power is practiced and acquired. Leadership strength is the ability to communicate effectively and is characteristic of the most successful leaders.

1. Be Self Aware

Leaders manage their moods and temperament intently. They may even postpone a meeting if their head is not in the best place at the moment.

Otherwise, they risk causing confusion and misunderstanding. So quality communication begins with a sense of balance.

2. Target the Purpose

Whether using formal speeches, online communication, management meetings, or casual conversation, leaders communicate with a purpose in mind.

Leaders would have the plan to inform, describe, convince, or call to action. Each of these purposes takes a different shape.

3. Name the Audience

Effective communication reaches its audience. If it does not connect, it has failed. And for that to work, leaders must adjust their communication vocabulary, style, and mode.

It’s not condescending to find common ground with workers. It shows respect for their needs and values their contribution.

Making that personal connection builds understanding and trust. And it takes an understanding of communication technology.

4. Master Silence

Silence has a power of its own. In Psychology Today, Alex Lickerman, M.D., advises, “The effective use of silence can bestow many gifts.”

Among other things, it affords leaders the chance to listen intently and actively.

When leaders are silent, others fill in and reveal their hearts and minds. The silence is understood as welcoming and respectful.

5. Build Teams

Encouraging employee engagement through team-building activities and small-group discussions definitely seems to improve communication transparency and strengthen the overall employer-employee relationship.

Building teams requires leaders to model behavior and prioritize the communication necessary to collaborate.

Where teams once followed orders, contemporary leaders draw out the best in team members.

6. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify

Leaders have a firm grasp of and belief in the organization’s core values.

Direct, firm, and clear communication shows respect, even when the communication carries bad news, because it is delivered with integrity and consistency.

Leadership creates and strengthens bonds. It models preferred and productive behaviors, and it respects the work and contributions of others.


Those who follow and interact with leaders do so in response to and collaboration with the leader’s communication strengths.

Communication engages and motivates. It rewards and respects, and serves peers, employees, and customers.

Practice Self-Affirming Communication Skills

If you have ideas about self-affirming communication that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Louis Carter
Louis Carter
Louis Carter, MA is the author of over 10 books on best practices in leadership and management, including Change Champion's Field Guide and Best Practices in Talent Management. He is one of the top advisers to C-level executives, helping them and their organizations achieve measurable results.
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