Positive Communication is an Essential Leadership Skill

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Effective communication is a top priority in any workplace, and adopting a positive communication style can build stronger connections, encourage a healthy work environment, and increase motivation and productivity.

What is Positive Communication?

Positive communication does not mean being overly optimistic or happy at all times. It is a concept based on positive psychology that focuses on individual and societal well-being. Positive communication facilitates trust and collaboration by encouraging empathy and respect. It also requires being assertive, which means expressing ideas and opinions with transparency while showing respect for others. Leaders who practice positive communication are honest, consistent, supportive and show genuine interest in others.

What is Negative Communication?

To better understand the importance of positive communication, you can consider what negative communication in the workplace looks like. Negative communication may be passive, with individuals failing to express their thoughts or appearing anxious or uncomfortable. Or it may be aggressive, such as someone who constantly interrupts others or tends to be loud and overbearing. Negative communication leaves employees confused about instructions, afraid of speaking up, and can lower workplace morale.

How to Practice Positive Communication

We can all take steps to become better at positive communication with a little practice. Leaders that learn the art of positive communication will find it easier to maintain client relationships, motivate employees and resolve conflicts. Here are a few ways to become a positive communicator!

  • Choose Your Words Carefully – Avoid using negative words like can’t, won’t, or don’t. With some practice, you can learn to reframe statements using a positive word instead. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t leave all the lights on when you go home for the day,” try saying, “Please make sure you turn the lights off before you go home.” And instead of saying, “I can’t possibly meet that deadline,” say something like, “If you can give me a few hours, I can have that on your desk.”
  • Be Aware of Body Language – Communication is about more than just words. Many experts say that 90% of communication is nonverbal, consisting of body language and vocal tone. Keeping a relaxed and open posture, smiling, and making appropriate eye contact all convey positive intent and put others at ease. Avoid crossing your arms defensively, or fidgeting nervously in conversations, as that can be interpreted as negative communication.
  • Be a Great Listener – Communication is a two-way street, and positive communication requires excellent listening skills. Practice being an active listener. Avoid interrupting others when they speak. Summarize and repeat what you heard them say to ensure you understand what they meant. And always demonstrate genuine interest by paying attention, making brief verbal affirmations and asking open-ended questions.