Natural born communicator: 5 leadership skills that foster engagement

Not everyone is a natural-born communicator. Some people have it, some don’t. But when it comes to business, there just isn’t room for second-guessing capabilities in this field. Our problem is that managers account for 70% of employee engagement, but only 23% of the globe is engaged.

Here’s our rundown of what makes an effective communicator - and engaging leader (and no, micro-managing isn’t one of them):

1. Cultivate and communicate the company’s purpose, mission and values

Your colleagues become more engaged when they can see how their work feeds into the bigger picture. You can have the best and healthiest culture ever, where people know they’re cared for, but they won’t be engaged if they don’t know why their work matters. Value-driven work leads to employee engagement.

Leaders must help employees internalise and understand the impact of their day-to-day work. Translating purpose into day-to-day functions isn’t easy, so providing resources to help shift your employee’s mindset will help. Also, regular one-on-ones and check-ups where you can connect the employee’s work to the company’s mission, goals, and values are key. 

2. Maintain frequency of communication

Keeping communication consistent is essential for employee engagement - and retaining talent. Your colleagues will feel important because they are continuously informed on key matters. Being regularly informed builds relationships, enabling a level of trust that fosters employee engagement. When employees feel they have the trust of leaders, they feel empowered.

To communicate frequently, you need to be visible. There’s no point communicating frequently if you’re not reaching your employees. So, find out where they get their information from, which channels are used, and by whom. It’s about being accessible to everyone and meeting them where they are. For example, employees who may work on a factory floor most likely won’t use the same channels as office workers who have constant access to technology. To be visible to everyone you have to do your research and get creative in your communication.

3. Reward and recognise employee achievements

According to the 2022 State of Recognition Report, regularly recognised employees have a higher level of job commitment, with two-thirds (65%) admitting that feeling recognised would reduce their desire to job hunt. 

As a leader, when it comes to recognition, you should be setting the tone of your organisation, defining recognition standards for what constitutes achievements, and providing opportunities to offer constructive feedback that facilitates personal and professional growth.

4. Be honest and transparent

The most effective and inspirational leaders promote a two-way, transparent culture. Where transparency in business was once a taboo concept, it’s now the expectation. We live in an age of information and employees want to be well-informed about what’s happening in their company and their work. 

To be more honest and transparent, start by having two-way communication, in person if possible, with feedback going both ways. This helps it be more personal and encourages feedback from the employee, which gives them a level of trust that their opinions matter to you. Take this a step further and prioritise teamwork by giving up authority. This means leading not dictating, allowing your team to come up with ideas and solutions by giving them ownership.

5. Listen to your employees’ ideas

We’re not talking about paying lip service; it’s about being switched on like you would with a customer or client. Once you have connected with your employees and created open and honest communication, this will create an environment that supports sharing ideas. 

Employees who trust their manager will be more inclined to share ideas and opinions. But to benefit consistently, you need to practise active listening. This means really making an effort to listen to them in meetings, one-to-ones, etc. Observing body language and being aware of what they are engaged with and not engaged with can help you understand the root of employee engagement. To bring out those ideas, try encouraging team members to provide insights when solving a problem. 

When employees feel they can openly bring new ideas to the conversation, they’ll be more empowered and engaged in the company’s growth.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will bring some insight into how leadership communication sets engagement levels and the organisation’s workplace culture. The old saying goes, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do”.


Interested in learning how leadership communication can improve employee engagement and your bottom line? Contact us below and see how we can help you.