These days, technology is developing at such a pace, that things like automation, AI and machine learning are threatening our jobs. In order to succeed in this world, we have to develop our human skills, such as intuition, judgement, emotional intelligence, creativity and critical analysis. In short, we have to demonstrate our capacity to be good leaders.
The key word here is “demonstrate”. You might have excellent judgement, sound intuition and a Rain Man-like gift for critical reasoning – but for that to mean anything, you have to be able to prove these qualities through your words and your actions.
So what specifically can we do to gain leadership success? This post aims to be a ‘pocket guide’, distilling our vast knowledge developed from our world-renowned leadership development program into key points that you can take away today, to help you tomorrow.
Valuable leadership qualities
Clients are always asking us, “What makes a good leader?”. After years of running our courses with all sorts of different leaders attending, we have unique insights into the key leadership traits which make good leaders and make people sit up and take notice.
In this video, Colin James reveals precisely what these attributes are:
To sum up, successful leaders:
- Pay attention: Good leaders are not thinking about that meeting in an hour or that report they have to write; they’re focused on who they’re with and what’s going on in the present moment.
- Make time: When you give people time, they are more relaxed and comfortable, and, paradoxically, they will need less of your time than if you were to rush them and make them feel they’re not worth a few minutes.
- Are consistent: People don’t respond well to leaders who are capricious and unpredictable; they want a steady hand on the helm.
- Are good with names: This may seem simple, but it is actually a skill that takes concerted effort and practice to master. It’s worth it, though – you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes to how you are perceived.
- Are decisive: Decisiveness is a quality people look for and expect in a good leader, so be strong in your convictions.
Communicating as leaders
How do we then translate these qualities of a good leader into our everyday lives?
With effective communication.
At The Colin James Method®, we firmly believe good leadership begins and ends with strong communication skills. Good communication is how you engage, persuade and inspire others – without this ability, you’re severely limiting yourself and your career options.
Communication is not simply what we say – it’s how we say it. All sorts of nuances play into effective communication, including things you might not even be conscious of, like your body language or the tone of your voice. But by harnessing these subtleties, you’ll be able to engage, persuade and inspire those around you.
Our P.A.V.E.R.S® methodology is a way of getting you to perfect all the different elements that go into communicating as a leader. By working with P.A.V.E.R.S®, you can break through self-consciousness and communicate with intention and flair. We teach the P.A.V.E.R.S® methodology in our Mastering Communication Program, which we only deliver three times a year.
Your posture, facial expressions and gestures speak volumes. This means that, while your words may be on point, the message you’re delivering with your body language may be telling an entirely different story.
Harness your physiology in ways that support your message. For example, simply sitting or standing tall can immediately project confidence, and using expressive gestures can add an animation and richness to your delivery that can help engage your audience.
Physiology is especially powerful as body language can be used to not just affect how you are perceived externally, but also how you feel internally.
When we talk about using our voice, we’re not talking just about the words that are being said (although that is of course important too). We’re also talk about the way in which those words are being said. As with body language, people are able to pick up on subtle shifts in tone and pitch, and these can either enhance or hinder your message.
When you want to command respect, think “low and slow”. Making sure your voice is low and slow will convey clarity and calm, which will engender trust.
PowerPoint is meant to help get you message across, but most of the time we find it is a hindrance. In the end, your slides simply become a distraction, detracting from what should be the main event – you.
At The Colin James Method®, we like to use the ‘chalk and talk’ method, using a simple flipchart or chalkboard when we want to illustrate something. Or, if you want to really stand out from the crowd, why not try presenting without any visual aids at all? (Our free ebook will show you how.)
Energy can be a tricky thing. We talk about people having ‘good’ or ‘bad’ energy, but it can be difficult to put a finger on why we think that. It’s just something we know how to read instinctively.
Likewise with ‘defeatist’ energy, or ‘nervous’ energy – the fact is, how we feel on the inside can have a marked effect on how we appear to others.
So what can we do about this? We can shift our perspective. So, instead of focusing on feeling anxious, or thinking up worst-case scenarios, think instead of your audience – what do you want them to get out of it? This new focus will help take you out of a negative mindset and help you project a more happy and positive energy.
There are three fundamental qualities to any good relationship: respect, rapport and trust. It might seem like an impossible task to foster these three things with an entire audience in a space of a single meeting or presentation, but this is exactly what good leaders are able to do. Simple things like being on time, cracking a joke and demonstrating that you’re actively listening can go a long way towards establishing a good relationship with your audience.
Everyone loves a good story. Stories are engaging and meaningful; they move and inspire us; they connect us on a human level. Stories, therefore, are a very powerful weapon in your arsenal, and learning how to use them to prove a point, provide clarity or inspire action can go a long way towards helping you gain influence.
Putting communication skills into practice
Of course, while gaining knowledge through reading is great, that knowledge is not doing much good just sitting in your brain. Just like with any other skill, if you want to learn how to communicate as a leader, you have to learn by doing.
If you’re serious about investing in yourself and climbing that corporate ladder, our Mastering Communication program is designed to equip you with all the communication skills you need for the long term. With intensive workshops, guided learning, group coaching, access to online videos and training support, you’ll be able to communicate with confidence no matter what the situation. So sure are we about the effectiveness of our program that we offer a money-back guarantee.
Why not start today?
Some people think strong leadership is an innate quality; we believe that it is a skill that can be cultivated, and that developing good communication skills can go a long way towards becoming a strong leader. Why not start putting some of these tactics into practice today.
The next best step to take toward leadership success is to learn how to tell stories. Download our ebook What’s the story? to get years practical experience condensed down in an easy to read format. Get the ebook today!
The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.
Erica Bagshaw is an entrepreneur, Executive Coach and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She has spent the majority of her career growing and developing close client partnerships. She loves sharing her expertise on the perfect pitch.