This article explores seven tips for leaders to use to improve their communication skills.
Appropriate Subject Area(s):
Careers, business studies, entrepreneurship
Key Questions to Explore:
- What contributes to poor communication?
- How can someone improve their communication skills with their subordinates?
Copies of the article
Introduction to lesson and task:
People are frequently promoted to leadership roles because of their accomplishments but often leadership requires a different skill set. This can lead to frustrating situations if the recently-appointed individual fails to understand that a successful transition depends upon a new perspective and a new way of performing. Time and again the major source of difficulty is lack of communication skills. A person who has been successful in doing things often cannot communicate those skills or convey direction to a subordinate group. There may be a breakdown in communicating objectives or in defining roles. Regardless of the nature of the breakdown, the result is the same – a distancing between the leadership group and the subordinate group, resulting in resentment and feelings of alienation. It is important, therefore, for students to be aware of the importance of communication skills and the ways in which communication can be done in an effective manner. This lesson will have the students, through a simulation activity, consider some important factors in good communication.
Action (lesson plan and task):
- Begin the lesson by asking the students if they have ever worked for a frustrating boss.
- Ask them to identify why it was such a frustrating situation.
- Indicate to them that, through a simulation activity, they will examine some communication things that leaders can do to avoid such situations.
- Arrange the students in groups of five or six and assign them the following scenario to address:
The regional supervisor has recognized that there is a high level of frustration in the local office and has discussed this with the manager in charge of the office. The manager has agreed to have a committee of the local office meet and develop a set of things that he/she might do to improve internal communication and thereby reduce the level of dissatisfaction. You are that committee. Develop a series of recommendations that a leader might follow to avoid communication gaps between leaders and subordinates.
- Give the students time to complete the task.
Consolidation of Learning:
- Have each group report their list to the class, explaining each skill or action and respond to comments or questions from the class.
- The students will be able to identify skills and actions that will assist any leader in communicating effectively.
- Once all of the groups have reported, hand out the article and allow them time to read it.
- Have them compare the suggestions in the article to their list and then hold a plenary session during which the students could discuss any outstanding issues or comment on the suggestions.