5 leadership communication skills you need to be a great boss

Being popular or likeable doesn’t necessarily translate to being a great boss. For leadership communication skills to be effective, you need to command respect, demonstrate your trustworthiness and believability. Being a good leader can make you ‘well-liked’ but it also can put your popularity at risk.

For example, let’s say you’re reviewing a staff member’s performance which has been lacklustre of late. If your main goal is to be a popular boss then you probably won’t be as demanding on performance or give pointed feedback, because this may upset the staff member and you may not be ‘liked’ as a result.

You can learn more about why you don’t need to be liked to be a good boss in the video below.


Whether you’re liked or not, shouldn’t form part of your leadership agenda. There are lots of other valuable leadership skills you can work on to communicate your authority, inspire your team and lead dynamically.

Here are five  for starters:

1. Be consistent

Being an inconsistent boss can drive your team crazy. One minute you’re letting them get on with it, the next you’re micromanaging everything they do. The impact of inconsistent management is disengaged and disinterested employees. Great bosses focus on constructive criticism where it’s needed but they’re aware of the importance of creating a stable and consistent work environment.

2. Accept mistakes

Great bosses realise that their employees are only human and mistakes will happen. Chewing out someone publicly for making a mistake can instil an environment of fear in the office and stymie innovation, sharing and collaboration. Let your team know that it’s not the end of the world if they make a mistake.  

3. Lead up

Great bosses lead up to add value even if they don’t have the authority to make things happen themselves. They look for ways to make their own managers more successful and increase their own sphere of influence. Being well-respected is more effective when it comes to negotiating on behalf of your team than being well-liked.

4. Support your team

Great bosses have their employees’ best interests at heart. They provide a supportive, protective environment and oversee day-to-day workflows and reduce interruptions from the larger organisation. They are trusted by staff members to be an advocate for their causes and give credit where it’s deserved.

5. Be a clear communicator

Great bosses aren’t ambiguous and make sure they communicate clearly so everyone’s on the same page. They stay up to speed by investing in their communication training so they can learn how to be an engaging and dynamic speaker.

Storytelling can achieve meaningful leadership communication

A technique that all good leaders know how to use to their advantage is business storytelling. A story allows you to illustrate your argument and persuade others to your point of view without overloading their employees with dry content.

Storytelling is an effective leadership communication skill that allows you to say a lot with very little. It also connects you on a human level with others and can motivate your team to work harder.

Sign up for our Online Persuasive Business Storytelling Course and make storytelling one of your leadership communication skills today!

The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their leadership skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and 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

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.