All posts by Cindy Constable

Workplace Trends 2024: Navigating New Norms in Business

Keeping up with Workplace Trends 2024 is crucial for anyone aiming to stay ahead in the ever-evolving job market. This year, we’re seeing a radical shift towards hybrid work models and a pressing need to address worker stress that’s at an all-time high. Managers are finding themselves at the forefront of navigating these changes, facing unique challenges but also armed with new strategies for success.

In this read, you’ll get insights into crafting long-term hybrid work strategies that balance productivity with employee satisfaction. We’ll dive into how training managers can lead effectively in such environments and explore ways to rebuild trust post-pandemic—a key component for organizational cohesion.

No fluff here—just practical advice on staying adaptable and resilient amid changing workplace dynamics.

Workplace Trends 2024

Table Of Contents:

The Shift to Hybrid Work: Strategies and Implications

Hybrid work models have taken center stage, reshaping how we think about our jobs. The pandemic served as a catalyst for this change, but the evolution was already underway.

Crafting a Long-term Hybrid Work Strategy

Developing an effective strategy for hybrid work is crucial for businesses aiming to boost productivity while keeping employees happy. Only 20% of remote-capable employees were fully on-site in 2024, down from 60% in 2024. This dramatic shift shows that flexible work isn’t just a trend; it’s the future.

To build a long-lasting hybrid work model, companies need to focus on management strategies and employee engagement. Eight in ten CHROs from Fortune 500 companies plan to maintain or increase remote work flexibility over the next year. This commitment reflects an understanding that flexibility can lead to higher engagement, wellbeing, and lower turnover risk among staff.

Training Managers for Hybrid Success

For hybrid models to thrive, managers must adapt their leadership styles. They are now tasked with leading teams spread across different locations and time zones—a challenge that demands new skills and approaches.

Educating managers on how to lead effectively in such environments is vital. Gallup research suggests that good management has four times more impact on employee engagement than their physical workplace does.

This means training programs should not only cover practical tools but also emphasize building trust remotely—ensuring every team member feels valued regardless of where they log in from.

Worker stress is like a silent alarm that keeps buzzing, signaling an urgent need for attention. A recent study found 52% of employees in the U.S. and Canada felt a lot of stress just the previous day.

The modern workplace has been transformed by global worker stress remains at record high levels, putting everyone on edge. But it’s not all doom and gloom; there are ways to turn this around.

Management’s Role in Alleviating Stress

Managers have a unique position when it comes to reducing team stress. They’re crucial connectors between higher-ups and frontline workers, navigating numerous organizational changes while keeping teams motivated.

To combat rising worldwide employee tension, managers must adopt strategies that prioritize people’s wellbeing over mere productivity metrics. This means creating an environment where employees feel fully trusted to manage their job responsibilities effectively without undue pressure or additional job burdens due to budget cuts or increased responsibilities.

This approach can inspire confidence among team members during times of change, supporting them through challenges rather than adding to their load. Managers serve as role models; showing resilience and flexibility helps create a work environment riddled with positivity rather than one testing team leaders’ limits unnecessarily.

In today’s rapidly changing expectations about how people work, including hybrid models and remote opportunities, effective leadership requires more empathy and adaptability than ever before. Training programs focused on these areas can be vital for equipping managers with the tools they need to lead successfully, ensuring both employee satisfaction and business success amidst ongoing uncertainty.

Communication as a Tool for Building Trust

The pandemic shook the foundation of trust between employees and organizational leadership. But, there’s light at the end of this tunnel. Only 23% of U.S. employees strongly agreed they trust their leaders in 2024, signaling an urgent need for action.

So, how do we start rebuilding this crucial aspect? It all boils down to communication. Leaders must step up their game when it comes to being clear and consistent with their messages. This isn’t just about sending more emails or holding more meetings; it’s about ensuring that every piece of communication reinforces trustworthiness.

A big part of restoring trust involves leaders openly sharing information about decisions and changes within the organization—no matter if the news is good or bad. Employees appreciate transparency because it makes them feel valued and respected.

Why Clear Communication Matters

In our fast-changing world, clarity from leadership can be like a lighthouse guiding ships through foggy nights. When leaders communicate effectively, they not only share necessary information but also inspire confidence among team members.

This goes beyond mere words spoken during a meeting or written in an email—it’s about fostering an environment where people fully trust that their superiors have everyone’s best interests at heart.

To truly engage your workforce post-pandemic means leaning into these conversations with empathy and understanding—the hallmarks of great leadership today. Remember, genuine engagement starts with genuine conversation.

The Challenge of Engaging Remote and Hybrid Teams

Keeping remote and hybrid teams engaged isn’t just about regular check-ins. It’s a craft that blends team collaboration, organizational culture, and performance management into one cohesive strategy.

Revising Performance Management for Remote Workers

Gallup’s research has unveiled a striking fact: how employees are managed wields four times more influence on their engagement and wellbeing than their work location does. This statistic underlines the importance of adapting performance management practices to suit remote and hybrid working arrangements better. In an era where flexibility is king, traditional methods simply don’t cut it anymore.

To thrive in this new landscape, managers need to become adept at setting clear expectations remotely, recognizing achievements in innovative ways, and fostering an environment where feedback flows freely both ways. Creating such a space lets every team member feel seen, heard, and valued—key ingredients for boosting employee engagement across the board.

Incorporating these changes can help bridge the gap between physical office spaces and virtual ones. As we navigate this shift towards more flexible work models, remembering that effective communication remains at the heart of engaging our teams is crucial. By revisiting our approach to performance management with these considerations in mind, we not only adapt but also create opportunities for growth in our ever-evolving work environments.

Addressing the Manager Struggle in Today’s Work Environment

Managers today are feeling the heat more than ever. They’re juggling a lot, from keeping their teams engaged to handling their own workloads. Let me tell you, it’s not easy.

In 2024, managers were found to be disengaged and burnt out at rates higher than non-managers. The pressure is real, folks. And with many looking for new jobs, we need to talk about how we can help these crucial team leaders.

The shift towards remote and hybrid work has only added fuel to the fire. Managers now have to lead teams they sometimes don’t even see face-to-face. But here’s some good news: strategies exist that can make this balancing act a bit easier.

Crafting a Long-term Hybrid Work Strategy

To start off on the right foot, businesses must develop long-term plans for hybrid work that focus on productivity and satisfaction—for everyone involved. This means creating clear policies around when and where employees can work while ensuring they feel part of the team no matter their location.

A recent survey revealed only 20% of remote-capable employees worked fully onsite compared to 60% in 2024—a massive change. Companies are embracing flexibility like never before because let’s face it; it works well for most people involved.

Training Managers for Hybrid Success

Educating managers on leading effectively in a hybrid environment is critical. They need tools and skills specific to this setup—everything from managing virtual meetings efficiently to keeping up morale without physical presence. Research shows that equipped managers can significantly boost engagement levels among remote workers versus those who aren’t properly trained.

So there you have it: supporting our managers isn’t just beneficial—it’s necessary if we want our teams (and businesses) thriving during these changing times.

Key Takeaway: 

Managers today face unique challenges, especially in hybrid settings. Giving them the right tools and training can boost team engagement and productivity.


Navigating Workplace Trends 2024 demands flexibility and insight. Embrace hybrid work models; they’re here to stay, blending productivity with satisfaction.

Training matters. Equip managers for success in these changing environments—they’re key to bridging gaps between remote and on-site teams.

Trust rebuilds slowly but starts with clear communication. Let your actions speak as loudly as your words to reforge bonds broken during uncertain times.

Tackling stress isn’t just good practice—it’s essential for keeping teams engaged and productive. Listen, support, act.

In conclusion, adaptability is the cornerstone of navigating workplace trends effectively. From crafting hybrid strategies to managing stress and rebuilding trust, it’s about finding balance in a shifting landscape. Stay ahead by staying flexible.

Leadership Development Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s Businesses

Leadership Development Trends Shaping Tomorrow’s Businesses

Have you ever stood at the edge of a high cliff, looking down at the roaring waves below? That’s how it feels when we face leadership development challenges.

We’re in a time where the traditional methods of guidance don’t suffice anymore.

The path to effective leadership development isn’t marked or well-trodden like before. We need new skills, new tools, and, yes – even a new mindset.

So, what does this evolving leadership development trend landscape look like?

Think remote teams scattered across time zones. Picture yourself developing soft skills that were previously undervalued but are now crucial for success.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive into leadership development trends and make the most of it!

Table Of Contents:

The Reasons

Let’s tackle the question that might be on your mind: Why is leadership development trending?

With the advent of remote work, the landscape of business and management has evolved drastically over recent years.

A growing emphasis on personal growth, not just for individuals but also within organizations, must be addressed. This surge in self-development reflects an increasing desire to improve ourselves and others.

In turn, it helps businesses flourish as well-rounded teams lead the way forward.

Next up is the looming ‘Talent Cliff.’ A term coined by HR professionals represents the predicted shortfall in skilled labor due to demographic changes like aging populations.

So, investing more resources into nurturing homegrown talent becomes crucial for survival.

Soft skills are taking center stage now more than ever before. According to McKinsey, leaders who communicate effectively and empathize with their team members will likely drive better results than those who don’t.

  • We’ve seen remote work becoming commonplace since 2020.
  • The rise of flexible working arrangements demands new forms of leadership.
  • And lastly, a shift towards blended learning methods – combining traditional face-to-face instruction with online materials – when developing leaders.

All these factors make it clear: the push for leadership development isn’t just a trend but an essential strategy to ensure business growth and resilience in today’s dynamic market conditions.

Increasing need to develop ourselves & others

The modern business landscape has dramatically changed.

With the rise of remote work and digital innovation, it’s not just about staying afloat but excelling in this sea of change. So, how do we navigate? By developing ourselves and those around us.

Leadership development isn’t just a trend – it’s an imperative. Why the focus on improvement?

  • We live in a knowledge-based economy where continuous learning can give you a competitive edge.
  • Digital disruption (think artificial intelligence) means new skills are needed faster than ever.
  • The rapid pace of change makes adaptability crucial for survival and success.

Take McKinsey’s report, highlighting that by 2030, up to 375 million workers will need to switch occupations or acquire new skills because their old jobs will no longer exist.

To stay ahead, you must invest more in personal development programs focusing on soft skill mastery like communication, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, etc., rather than solely technical competencies.

This approach doesn’t just help individuals grow professionally but also contributes positively towards company culture, fostering higher employee engagement levels and improving overall productivity.

Approaching the “Talent Cliff”

We’re facing a precarious situation regarding talent, and it’s essential to act swiftly. Why? A multitude of people are resigning from their occupations now more than ever.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2023 alone, an average of about 4 million Americans quit their job each month.

leadership development trends

This mass exodus is affecting more than just large corporations and small businesses. Companies must offer more than competitive salaries or great benefits – employees also want growth opportunities.

The term “talent cliff” refers to this looming crisis where demand for skilled leaders outpaces supply, causing organizations to scramble to fill essential roles.

Let’s start rethinking our approach now.

  • We need better leadership development programs that give team members clear paths forward.
  • We should use performance data and feedback loops effectively so everyone knows how they’re doing and what they need to work on next.
  • Fostering an inclusive culture can also bring fresh perspectives into decision-making processes. (Hey, diversity is pretty cool, right?)

Acknowledging the talent cliff doesn’t mean accepting defeat; instead, it’s taking control of your organization’s future by preparing today with effective leadership development strategies.

Shifting focus to the development of soft skills

The business landscape is evolving, and more than hard skills like strategic planning and financial analysis are required.

We need to give more attention to soft skills—those intangible qualities that can’t be measured but make a world of difference.

We’re not saying you should neglect hard skills—they’re essential—but let’s face it: they can often be learned quickly or outsourced if necessary. Soft skills? Not quite so simple.

  • Empathy: In today’s diverse workplace, understanding others’ perspectives helps foster inclusivity.
  • Creativity: With rapid technological changes come new challenges—and creative solutions become vital.
  • Flexibility: To adapt swiftly amidst uncertainty—a defining feature of modern businesses—is an invaluable skill.

With the wave of “quiet quitting,” it’s no wonder companies are shifting their focus toward these abilities.

They’ve seen firsthand how nurturing them within leadership boosts morale and productivity across all levels—an aspect supported by Forbes’ survey findings on employee motivation.

If we want our businesses to thrive in this fast-paced digital era—we must invest time into developing these “soft” aspects. We must take advantage of the potential benefits of investing in leadership development initiatives focusing on softer skills.

Remote and Flexible Working

Modern business landscapes have significantly shifted to remote and flexible (often called “hybrid work”) working. What’s the fuss all about?


A Gallup report shows that employees who spend at least some time working remotely are likelier to be engaged in their jobs. The same report indicates that those with some flexibility are less likely to experience burnout.

This work arrangement can give us more control over our schedules, allowing for improved work-life balance. Just imagine skipping the rush-hour traffic or having more time for family dinners.

  • You get to tailor your workspace just how you like it – say goodbye to office distractions.
  • You’ll also save money on commuting costs – every penny counts.
  • No need for formal wear – celebrate “Casual Everyday.”

The switch isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. Challenges such as isolation, lack of social interaction, and potential overwork exist too. So, here is where heads of teams need to step up and be mindful of employee wellbeing.

Maintaining Productivity & Engagement Remotely

To keep teams productive while maintaining high morale requires thoughtful strategies from leaders. Regular check-ins via video conferencing tools (like Zoom or Microsoft Teams) is one approach that helps maintain connection among team members even when they’re miles apart.

As we navigate the remote work landscape, it’s clear that leadership must evolve too. It’s no longer about clocking in and out—it’s about trust, communication, and results.

We want to design the work culture using new leadership practices for the new hybrid workplace.

Adopting a blended approach to leadership and management development

There needs to be more than the old-fashioned, cookie-cutter leadership style. But, with the rise of remote work and increased emphasis on soft skills, mental health, and communication skills, a more versatile strategy is needed.

A Gallup study shows managers account for a 70% variance in team engagement. This means good leaders can inspire teams to reach their full potential.

This brings us to blending various learning styles into your leadership skills training programs. It’s about creating an environment where every type of learner feels included.

  • To start with, try incorporating interactive elements like group discussions or role-playing exercises, which allow learners to participate rather than just passively absorb information actively.
  • Digital resources such as webinars or online courses can also be helpful for those who prefer self-paced learning.
  • Last, don’t forget mentorship opportunities that provide hands-on experience under expert guidance.

Innovation should not stop at products; it must also permeate your company culture. The goal is the continuous development of team members while considering the needs of those engaging in remote work.

So why wait?

Let’s shake up our old-school methods and embrace this dynamic approach.

FAQs in Relation to Leadership Development Trends

What is trending in leadership and development?

The trend leans toward developing soft skills like empathy and communication. Also, a blended approach to management is on the rise.

What is the trend in leadership in 2023?

In 2023, we foresee more remote working leading leaders to adapt their strategies for dispersed teams. Personal growth will also be emphasized.

What are the future leadership trends in 2023?

Apart from adapting to remote work environments, there will likely be an increased focus on employee well-being and resilience training.

What are the leadership development priorities for 2023?

Priorities include enhancing emotional intelligence, promoting inclusivity and diversity at workspaces, and nurturing creativity & innovation among team members.


Leadership development trends are shaping our world. They’re making us rethink how we grow as leaders.

We recognize the need to invest in ourselves and others, tackling that looming ‘Talent Cliff’ head-on.

We’ve seen the power of soft skills come to life and watched as they become key drivers for success.

Flexible working is no longer a perk but an expectation. And it’s reshaping how we lead teams scattered across time zones.

A blended approach to leadership? It’s not just a trend – it’s a necessity in this rapidly changing business landscape.

Strategic Planning Facilitator: A Wise Addition To The Process

You want your business to thrive, and to ensure it’s reaching new heights each quarter you must implement regular strategic planning into your routine.  

Strategic planning is “… an organizational management activity that is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to a changing environment. “ according to the Balanced Scorecard Institute.

For more resources on strategic planning, you can view my previous blog posts

Why Your Business Should Be Strategic Planning

The 5 Benefits of Strategic Planning For Your Business

While strategic planning can be completed solely by those within the company, some businesses are finding that bringing in a strategic planning facilitator helps them to yield better results from the overall process.

This blog post will outline the duties of a strategic planning facilitator and why it might be a good idea to add one to your company’s process.

What is a Strategic Planning Facilitator

A strategic planning facilitator is a consultant hired by a company to guide a business through their strategic planning meeting.

If you don’t hire an outside facilitator, you or whoever is leading the meeting takes on the role of facilitator.

There are many benefits associated with hiring an outside strategic planning facilitator which will be highlighted below.

The responsibilities associated with being a strategic planning facilitator might include

  • Assisting in explaining the planning process to the teams
  • Advising the CEO on the selection and organization of the planning teams
  • Briefing the strategic planning team on methods and tools
  • Leading the team through the planning process
  • Organizing and conducting the most important events
  • Encouraging the team to achieve tasks and meet agreed upon milestones.

Save Time In Advance

Preparing for a strategic planning meeting can be extremely time-consuming.  Hiring a facilitator can take most of the logistical preparation duties off your plate. This is always a welcome benefit for those typically tasked with that duty.

Provide Outside Perspective

When those within a company are having conversations about the business, they are very close to the situation.  Sometimes it’s difficult to fully see a case for what it is when you are in it. That’s why bringing in a strategic planning facilitator allows you to hear an outside perspective on the strategy and issues at hand.

While an outside perspective isn’t exactly necessary, it can be beneficial to hear what a neutral party thinks about a decision.

Stay on Track

It’s simple to get off track when having a meeting, especially if that’s the culture of your company.  Having a strategic planning facilitator allows you to stay on track throughout the process, so you are only addressing relevant topics that will help you achieve the goal of the planning session.

Facilitators are used to dealing with many people with various personality types so he or she can help to keep the meeting moving in a positive direction despite any disagreements or tough conversations that might take place.

Allows Everyone to Fully Participate

When one person from the company is facilitating the meeting, they’re unable to also fully participate.  Hiring a strategic planning facilitator ensures that every person who is a part of the planning committee can be present and participate as much as possible.

It’s common for more outgoing personalities to dominate the conversation.  Having experienced strategic planning facilitator helps to keep those present engaged, so everyone has a voice.

Provide a Proven Process

Strategic planning facilitators bring their skill set to the stage throughout the process.  Instead of trying to figure it out as you go, using a proven method allows you to ensure you are following a framework for strategic planning success.  

Having a proven process also reduces the risk that those in attendance will waste time.  Clearing the schedule to hold a strategic planning meeting means that every minute counts and the time spent planning should be used effectively.

How to Know Your Business Needs a Facilitator

Now, despite knowing what a strategic planning facilitator does and the benefits associated with bringing one to the table, you might be questioning whether your business is ready for that commitment.  Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to hire a facilitator for your strategic planning meetings.

You must address tough issues

When you know in advance that tough topics or concerns must be addressed during the meeting, it might be best to bring in a facilitator.  This is especially true if there is a history of communication breakdowns when discussing tough issues as a company.

You Struggle to Stay on Task

If your meetings lead to conversations about everything under the sun beyond the purpose of the meeting, you will surely benefit from having a strategic planning facilitator.  Consider the opportunity cost associated with having this meeting. There’s no time to waste.

You Don’t Communicate Well

If your team has difficulty communicating with each other well, especially regarding tough issues, save yourself the headache of facilitating the conversation by hiring an outside specialist.  They’re from outside the company, so they can bring out the best conversation amongst those involved to help reach the ultimate goal.

Moving Forward

Deciding to hire a strategic planning facilitator is an important one.  You must ensure you hire the right person with the best experience and personality to work with your company.

The benefit of bringing in a facilitator will undoubtedly improve the process and developing a top-notch strategic plan will hopefully lead to increased business success and employee satisfaction.  Happy employees are engaged employees and engagement leads to success, so it’s always important to keep that correlation in mind.

To learn more about increasing employee engagement, download my free book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement.  


5 Recruitment Strategies to Build a Team That Supports Your Company Culture

The culture of your company sets the tone for how your business operates.  Therefore, when you are hiring new employees, you want to ensure that you incorporate recruitment strategies to build a team that supports your company culture.

What Is Company Culture?

Your company culture is defined as the “beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions” according to

Your goals, community, office setup, employee benefits, dress code, etc. are grounded in the culture that develops over time within your organization.  While many businesses have a company culture that grows organically and is never explicitly referred to, it’s sometimes essential to strategically create a company culture or to improve the culture of your business.

Whether your company culture is discussed in depth or not, at a minimum, a business should identify what the general culture is so recruitment strategies can be appropriately aimed at hiring those to support the current culture.

Company Culture and The Hiring Process

When you identify the company culture of your business and employ recruitment strategies to build a team that supports your culture, you are impacting the attraction, selection, and retention portions of your human resources process.


Points 2 and 3 listed below (website and advertisement incorporation) will help you to attract the right employees for your business who are a good cultural fit. Drawing the right people is the first step.  If you’re going through the hiring process and none of the candidates fit your company’s needs culturally, it will be difficult to move to the next step which is selection.


Point 4 listed below (ask questions related to values) will help you to select the right employee.  A mixture of their ability to complete the duties required for the position and their responses to your culture based questions will aid you in picking the best person for the job.


Keeping employees with your company can be difficult if they don’t fit within the culture.  For example, if you are a very laid back, casual, teamwork-based business yet you hire someone who is rigid and professional to a fault who operates as an island, they likely won’t feel satisfied being with your company for an extended period.

#1 Develop Your Values

The first step in ensuring your recruitment strategies support your company culture is developing a set of values. This is done by first defining how you want your company culture to look. Next, review what your company culture looks like now and the changes that need to be made, if any.  Finally, consider the resources you need to have in place to support improving the culture if necessary.

#2 Incorporate Culture on Your Website

Components of your company culture that are most important should be incorporated into your website.

The overall tone of your site can display your company culture.  Your copy and images should be used to communicate your cultural message.

What does your “about us” page say about your business?

Consider incorporating employee profiles showcasing those within your business and speak specifically to the cultural competence they display that you’d want to see in others who join your team.

#3 Add Culture to Your Advertisement

When you advertise the position you’re hiring for, incorporate your cultural requirements or expectations into the copy.

Examples of ways to incorporate your culture are…

“Do you like working in a casual environment? Are you a team player? Are you looking for a job that feels more like fun than work?  If so, you just might be the right fit!”

“We are seeking a goal-oriented, self-starter to join our busy medical practice.  We pride ourselves on providing the best service to every patient regardless of ability to pay.  As a pillar of our community, we are here to serve those in need. If you have a heart of service, please give us a call.”

“2 weeks paid time off,  monthly team luncheons, 401K match, and casual dress code are just some of the benefits of working with Red Leaf Management.”

When you include information about the culture of your company within the advertisement, you are letting your potential interviewees know ahead of time the type of environment your business has.  This is likely to provide you with a better candidate selection than you’d receive when making typical statements such as, “I’m seeking a highly qualified family law attorney to join our busy firm.”

Discuss Culture During The Interview

During the interview, consider discussing the culture of the company.  Include things such as whether you are a proponent of teamwork, if you are a very technological savvy business, if the office offers a family-like atmosphere, or if there’s less open communication and collaboration.

Letting your potential candidate know this information upfront allows them to make a more educated decision regarding if they would even be interested in joining your company based on the culture.

It’s true that if an employee doesn’t fit within the culture of a company they might struggle to engage as well as those who do feel comfortable with the company culture.

(For more on improving employee engagement, download a free copy of my book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement)

Ask questions related to value

Instead of sticking solely to questions about the requirements of the position, ask questions that would allow you to gauge whether the potential candidate would fit within the company culture.

Examples include

What values are more important to you?

How does an organization with effective communication look?

What is your ideal work environment?

How do you bounce back from failure?

Questions like the ones listed above don’t speak directly to their ability to get the job done.  Instead, they speak to the candidate’s character. Their character is what will impact their ability to fit within the culture of the organization.

Choosing the best recruitment strategies to build a team that supports your company culture is vital if you want to attract, select, and retain top-notch employees. Incorporating the strategies outlined above should provide you with a solid plan of action to do just that.


How to Communicate as a Business Leader: The 4 Communication Pillars

Holding a leadership position and being an effective communicator go hand in hand.  It’s impossible for you to lead a team, company, or department, without being able to communicate well with those within your organization and those with a stake in the success of your organization.  

There are many skills required to be a successful leader in business, and communication is indeed one of the most important.  While most leaders have gotten to their place in a company because they have a strong set of communication skills, it’s always an area that can be improved upon over time. This blog post will detail the 4 communication pillars that guide you in learning how to communicate as a business leader.

What is Communication

The definition of communication is the ability to send and receive information between two or more people.  When communication is discussed, verbal communication is often the first that comes to mind, but this method of communication is just one.  There are multiple forms of communication as a business leader that must be mastered so you can lead effectively.


Listening is often considered one of the most important types of communication. The mistake many people make is to focus on listening only to respond, not to understand.  This is especially true when under pressure, in a rush, or in a conversation where emotions are running high which happens very frequently in the business world. Without the foundational ability to listen, it’s impossible to maintain appropriate communication.

Here are a few ways you can improve your listening skills.

Face the speaker: It’s difficult to show you’re listening when your body is facing the opposite direction, or worse, looking at your phone or computer.

Maintain eye contact: This nonverbal form of communication shows that you are giving the speaker your full attention.

Keep an open mind: If you go into a conversation with preconceived notions and your mind set on how things will go, you’ll be unable to take in what is being said during the conversation entirely.

Minimize distractions: This includes internal and external disturbances.  While it’s easier to reduce external distractions, your inner thoughts, feelings, and that running to-do list might be more difficult to forget.  This takes practice.

Engage: When you engage in listening by asking questions, paraphrasing what was said, and providing feedback or advice when asked, you are an active part of the conversation, without only listening to respond.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication includes your volume, enunciation, the words you use, and your tone.  It is the most frequent form of communication in business and mastering it is vital if you want to be a strong leader.

Here are a few ways you can improve your verbal communication skills.

Be concise:  Communication doesn’t always require many words.  You want to learn to get your message across without adding information that isn’t relevant and without confusing your audience.

Think Before You Speak: Don’t be in a rush to answer when speaking.  Take the time to consider what your response will be before you begin talking.  This gives you time to check your emotional awareness, gather your thoughts, and formulate an idea of what you will say.  Doing this also minimizes the likelihood that you will say something that you later regret.

Vary Your Tone: Speaking in a monotone voice will quickly bore the person or people you’re speaking to.  While you don’t have to be an animated performer, you don’t want to sound bored during your conversation either.  By varying your tone and the pace of your sentences, you will keep the conversation, or at least your part, more interesting.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is comprised of your facial expressions and body language.  This form of communication can change the entire tone of the conversation, that’s why it’s vital that you always keep it in mind.

Here are a few ways you can improve your nonverbal communication skills.

Maintain eye contact:  Eye contact is essential.  Too much eye contact can be intimidating and inappropriate, but too little eye contact can seem as though you’re hiding something or not interested in the conversation.  There is no hard and fast rule for how long you should look at someone before looking away. Do what feels natural and comfortable for you.

Check your posture: Think about what your body is saying to your audience.  There’s a big difference between a person who is standing slouched over with their head down and a person standing straight with their head up.  Who would you want to have a conversation with? Be sure that your posture is portraying your intended message.

Read your audience: It’s not only important to consider your nonverbal communication skills, but that of your audience as well.  Are they looking at you or looking around seemingly bored? Are they engaged in the conversation or do they keep looking at the clock waiting for it to end? Do they seem guarded with their arms crossed, or open to the communication you’re having?  Keep the nonverbal communication of your audience in mind as you interact with them.

Written Communication

Written communication is frequent, especially in this technological age. It’s often required that we communicate via text message, email, notes, etc. It is best to communicate using appropriate writing skills related to proper grammatical conventions, but using the proper tone and being clear and concise is also crucial.

Here are a few ways you can improve your written communication skills.

Be brief:  Written communication should be clear and to the point.  When it becomes more lengthy, it’s easier for your message to be misconstrued.  It’s best to provide brief written communication and follow up with a verbal conversation on the matter when appropriate.

Reread: The tricky part about written communication is there are no nonverbal cues to indicate the true meaning of what’s being said.  I can send an email stating, “I need to see you in my office now.” That might automatically put you on high alert that something is wrong.  However, if I walk to your office smiling and say “I need to see you in my office now.” with a chipper and light-hearted tone, you might be curious as to the reason, but the same alarms won’t go off in your head.  

Communicating as a business leader is a necessity.  As you improve your communication skills, you will see your relationship with those within your company and stakeholders improve.  

As you learn how to communicate better, you will see the engagement of those within your company grow as well.  Working to enhance the participation of those you lead is crucial, and if you’re looking for additional ways to boost the engagement rate of those on your team, download a free copy of my book, 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement.

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