How to be a good manager or a team leader - learn communication skills

Managers and team leaders need to have excellent leadership qualities and must be exceptional communicators. What does it mean for a team leader/manager to be a good communicator? What is the art of being a good communicator? Get some tips on how to become an excellent manager/team leader.

A good manager/team leader is recognized primarily for his communication skills. So, what communication skills and how does a good manager/team leader acquire them? Communication is the ability to convey what you want to the other person(s). The communication must be clear, concise and crisp. The communication should not muddle up thoughts. The communication must end with a clear call to action. These are of course verbal communications, which can be carried out in person, over the phone, through emails and other channels.

There is non-verbal communication too, which involves body language, facial expressions and other mannerisms. Good non-verbal communication has the ability to deliver the right message correctly. While the display of poor non-verbal communication skills can slow down progress by bringing down the morale of the team. A good manager/team leader is someone who can communicate well through all possible channels.

Why managers/team leaders need good communication skills

Good communication skill is vital in every organisation, irrespective of the business structure, as it is a key factor that streamlines communication within the establishment. Small or big, all industries need to have good communication flowing - to avoid lapses and to maintain smooth functioning.

How poor communication affects performance

Our education system does not stress upon good communication skills. Most people I know learned the skill on the job. I think everyone has a tale or two of having worked under a 'bad' supervisor or manager or team leader or HOD or division in charge. I have heard such tales too, and in the majority of cases it turned out that the 'bad' person lacked clarity of thought – in short, they were poor communicators.

I have had my share of bad experiences too, with poor communicators. I am not going to regale you with what happened, but all I will share here is that it affected me emotionally, and I still feel the pain. And I am not alone here; I have heard plenty of grievances from affected employees. The main grouse about bad bosses is –

  • No clarity – they do not give clear instructions of what needs to be done
  • Passive aggression – the worst kind of behaviour which is demeaning
  • Too haughty – too self- centred to be bothered about anyone else
  • Keep mum – provide no feedback
  • Over critical – do not applaud efforts
  • No team spirit – absence of camaraderie that leads to animosity

The list goes on, but you get the point. Poor communication skills such as those listed above affect the overall self-esteem of employees down the line and this can, in turn, affect the output, quite seriously.

Recommended Reading : Top communication tips for young professionals

What are good communication skills

What are effective communication skills desired in a good manager/team leader? How can you tell a good communicator from someone who lacks basic communication skills?

Managers/team leaders keep their flock together. They also shoulder a great deal of responsibility, which broadly involves being accountable for what happens within their team, responsible for the quality of work produced and the output of the team members. They are responsible for delegating work, meeting deadlines and ensure that the completed work meets desired standards. Team leaders and managers also liaisons with clients, chair meetings and are a crucial link between the administration and his team. To accomplish all of this successfully, a manager/team leader must have sound technical knowledge about his job and be an excellent communicator.

Here is a list of good communication skills that good team leaders/managers possess –

  • Good communication skills in team leaders/managers translate into clear orders and expectations – they communicate what they expect, who needs to do it, how it needs to be done and by when it needs to be done, leaving no room for ambiguity
  • They ensure that there are no contradictions in their communication which can add to confusion down the line
  • They do not play the blame game of ascribing failures on the team members. They stand up and take the blame for their own failures and shortcomings
  • They do not flip-flop, going back on what they said nor do they expect the team to understand what is not communicated, but expected
  • They have clear objectives and vision and share it with their team
  • They keep a check on the progress and provide constant feedback (both positive and negative) through the entire course of the execution of tasks. This ensures that all essential factors with regards to performance and/or quality are observed so there is little or no scope for errors
  • They provide regular situation reports, of progress and failure/delays to the senior management, so it can act accordingly in making apposite decisions and resolutions
  • Lastly, a quality that every good team leader or manager must possess is the skill to encourage the team with timely feedback. They must strive to inspire their team, so they can influence their performance. They must provide adequate encouragement right through the project and also after its successful culmination. This keeps the team's spirits high and leads to consistent performances in future as well

Do you have the right communication skills required of a manager/team leader?

Recommended Reading : How to use non-verbal communication skills

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 551 articles authored by Juana

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao23 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

A team leader/ manager should go along with the team. They have to win the confidence of their team members. Then only they will be successful. Their communication skills will be such that his team members will get a clear and firm message from him. They should be friendly with their team members but should not become too friendly. Then they will be successful.

A good article by Ms. Juana

Author: Juana05 Sep 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Thank you for being appreciative of my article.

I agree with most of your points and have included them in my article. However, I do not agree with your opinion that, “A team leader/ manager should go along with the team”. The team leader knows the purpose, the deadlines and the expectations of the job at hand. The team leader is the one who has to see the job through its completion and ensure that it’s up to the required standard and meets the schedule. This person is answerable to the organisation.

Given the responsibility thrust upon them, I think the team leader should be leading, and not ‘going along with the team’, as you put it. They have to set targets and specifications and make certain that the whole team is on the same bandwidth. They have to set the pace for others to follow, and not the other way around. The team leader cannot be a puppet in the hands of his team members.

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