13 Communication Practices of Exceptional Leaders

April 27, 2015 in Career and Job Search Tips, HR Best Practices


Great leaders are great communicators. They share their vision in a way that inspires others and projects a contagious enthusiasm. But this ability doesn’t always come naturally. We’ve all experienced the pep talk that falls flat: the gung ho “take one for the team” speech that triggers sarcasm instead of motivation.

So how do some people stimulate belief, loyalty, and a commitment that defies logic, while others are dismissed and disrespected? With deliberate intent and lots of practice.

Exceptional leaders connect and communicate at a level that few others achieve by consistently following 13 communication practices. In part one of this two part blog, we’ll look at the first seven communication traits great leaders strive to practice.

Great leaders strive to:

  1. Be personable: They care about their followers and are willing to show it. They get to know their people and connect with them on a personal level. When tensions are high, they take the time to socialize or share some humor and let people de-stress before getting down to business.
  2. Gain trust: Keeping promises, telling the truth, and following through are all hallmarks of great leaders. People will forgive many failings if they trust, and nothing if they don’t.
  3. Tell it like it is: Sugar-coating bad news, covering up mistakes, or understating risks to keep people onside tends to backfire. Leaders give people the straight goods when things go off track and then quickly refocus on moving forward.
  4. Avoid ambiguity: Clarity is essential for vision. It’s hard to hit a fuzzy target or believe in a confusing message. Leaders are specific, concise, and, above all, clear in communicating their objectives and the principles they embrace.
  5. Be open-minded: While their vision is clear and unwavering, great leaders know there are multiple routes to any destination and they remain receptive to the input of their teams when mapping the way.
  6. Listen: When followers feel heard, they stay committed to the vision. Effective leaders commit to being fully present when conversing with their teams. They know people will only follow a leader who reflects their priorities and speaks for them and only a leader who listens can do that.
  7. Stay calm: When tempers fray and plans blow up, the best leaders remain calm. Resolute in the face of obstacles and unflappable regardless of external pressures, they lead with a cool composure that inspires confidence.

What communication habits do you strive to practice in your food and beverage workplace? Comment below and check back on May 11 for part two of 13 Communication Practices of Exceptional Leaders.