Communication is one of the most critical skill sets for any aspiring leader or manager to have in their toolkit. Without effective communication skills, business and work relationships suffer, misunderstandings and toxic work cultures are perpetuated, projects are delayed, employee morale is low, and key opportunities for enhancing one’s career are lost.
In fact, according to Grammarly’s 2023 The State Of Business Communication report, poor communication costs U.S. businesses an estimated $1.2 trillion annually which works out to be approximately $12,506 per employee per year. It also noted that although asynchronous communication via various online platforms such as email and Slack messages is up compared to previous years, the quality of communication is plummeting.
Additionally, the data demonstrated that business leaders believed that effective communication increases productivity (72%), customer satisfaction (63%), and employee confidence (60%), while non-leadership professionals report 56%, 54%, and 52% respectively.
If we desire to move towards a more harmonious workforce, especially as we increasingly rely on remote collaboration tools to communicate, it’s essential for all workers, and especially aspiring leaders, to develop their communication skills.
Here are some books which can help you improve your communication within the workplace:
1. Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power Of What You Say And What You Don’t
Leadership Is Language, authored by former US Navy captain L. David Marquet, teaches strategies for asking the right questions, what types of questions to avoid, and how to communicate in a way that empowers your team. It provides guidance on what words you should deliberately avoid using in your work vocabulary and gives you tons of practical examples for what you should include instead.
2. How To Talk To Anyone At Work: 72 Little Tricks For Big Success Communicating On The Job
Written by Leil Lowndes, a communications consultant, this handy book is especially beneficial if you are new to the world of leadership and management, and feel uncertain in communicating confidently and owning your voice. It coaches you on how to solve typical work scenarios and office politics with 72 tips spread over five distinct characteristics—the five C’s: confidence, caring, clarity, credibility, and coexistence.
3. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
To be a leader or occupy any managerial position, requires a large dose of confidence and courage. This inspirational book by leadership expert Renee Brown will teach you how to recognize and develop potential through your courageous leadership style—one that is curious and asks the right questions to spark empowerment and growth, and that is not afraid of difficult conversations.
4. The Art of Explanation: How to Communicate with Clarity and Confidence
Although not specifically written for leaders or managers, The Art of Explanation is nonetheless a great read for polishing your communication skills within your leadership role. Written by journalist Ros Atkins, it teaches you how to express yourself impactfully and with clarity, and breaks down the 10 ingredients for a good explanation. This will come in particularly handy for when you are delivering briefings or presentations to stakeholders unfamiliar with your idea, or trying to present a business case.
5. The Listening Leader: How To Drive Performance By Using Communicative Leadership
The Listening Leader is a book by Emilio and Clementina Galli Zugaro, that shows you how to adopt a communicative leadership style and is particularly helpful for managers and leaders in today’s global workforce that faces a variety of challenges, changes, and ongoing risks. The book is underscored by the principle that to be a great leader, you need to listen more and communicate more effectively, so that you and your organization can stand out from competitors.
Find a quiet spot or a few moments (maybe even a professional development hour) in your workday, read these books, and apply and incorporate these principles into your role. Through the power of books, your entire organization—and even your career—can drastically improve.