7 Tips on Continuous Improvement Process to Help Businesses Succeed

In the modern business landscape, a continuous improvement process (CIP) —also known as a continual improvement process—is critical. As the adage goes, change is the only constant. When it comes down to running a business, decision-makers need to remember that change management is as important as innovation, in order to survive. An organisation that lacks the tools, strategies, and resolve to manage change will quickly lose to adaptive competitors. 

Understanding The Meaning of Continous Improvement

Continuous improvement refers to an organisation’s ongoing improvement of products, services, quality or processes. These efforts may involve a combination of improvement techniques that include incremental and breakthrough changes. 

This is a lean approach to process improvement, refining your products, services, or processes for optimal efficiency and value. It is a form of innovation that happens on a methodological level, requiring an ongoing analysis and optimisation of an organisation’s current practices and standards.

Continuous improvement has numerous benefits to an organisation, from employees to customers and investors alike. Besides clear benefits to business efficiency, productivity, and performance, businesses have also reported improvements in areas such as customer satisfaction, employee engagement and quality management.

Continuous Improvement—Process or Mindset?

While there may be plenty of methodologies and models out there within the area of continual improvement, the effectiveness of these techniques requires businesses to adopt the idea of continuous improvement as a mindset ingrained within the organisation’s culture, rather than simply as a process improvement methodology.

A continuous improvement mindset means that members in the organisation are active in their search for opportunities for quality improvement—however big or small.

This mindset shift is integral for the success of any continuous improvement strategy. It is at this point that organisations find the CIP to be more naturalised within their existing processes, driving improvement, progress and growth within areas of improvement, and further enhancing successful processes for better efficiency.

Fostering a culture of continuous improvement comes by inculcating the mindset that success comes from:

  • Focussing on process improvement—innovating on the ‘how’, and ensuring that all goals and operations are made transparent for clear visibility on progress
  • Creating open collaboration on all levels that encourages knowledge sharing and ideas for quality improvement
  • Consistency in the process, with diligence that ensures transformational results

According to the Institute for Management Development (IMD), many organisations fail at fundamental change management for various reasons. These factors include a lack of leadership direction, disengaged communication, and an inadequate focus on culture change. 

The effectiveness and efficiency of CIP hinges on members of all levels in an organisation taking responsibility for continual improvement, in order to reduce errors, waste, and streamline processes for maximum efficiency.

It is important to note that even though continuous improvement becomes a part of your business, it still requires the right strategy, tools and methodology to impact change. There are many iterations of the continual improvement process, and organisational leaders need to select the most suitable strategy for optimal results.

Skills Needed For Successful Continuous Improvement

Implementing a mindset of continuous improvement in an organisation can help organisations remain steady even during tumultuous times. Here are some key skills that leaders may want to inculcate in order to achieve success with their continuous improvement initiatives:

Process Analysis

Process improvement begins with identifying what is working well, and what requires improvement. This doesn’t have to be complicated—start by looking at areas of issues or bottlenecks, and then move opening conversations that get to the causes of those issues.


Effective process improvement requires innovation. This can only come from collaborative processes that allow organisations to tap into a broader knowledge base, and gain different perspectives. It can help leaders form a more holistic idea of the needs of the business, while also encouraging employees to take ownership and play a more active role within the company.

Strategic Planning

This is the part of the continuous improvement model where ideas become actionable steps. Based on the conversations that happen in the process analysis and teamwork phase, leaders now come together to discuss the best solution ahead and break down the process, planning out the areas to focus on, strategy and resources needed for improvement.


Change is the only constant. While it is important to plan ahead, it is equally vital that organisations are not rigid in their plans. The willingness and ability to change and respond to the tides is a major determining factor of an organisation’s performance.

Self-reflection and feedback

Continuous improvement has to be ongoing, and that’s where it is important to have conversations that encourage feedback and self-reflection within the process. This means knowing the right kind of questions to ask, and empowering employees to be open to speaking up or making suggestions where they need to.

7 Tips to Approach The Continuous Improvement Process

CIP Tip #1 – Promote Small Manageable Changes 

Rome wasn’t built in a day – the same precept applies to mastering continuous improvement. 

For most companies, improvement can come in either of two variations:

  • Incremental: Slowly over time, in steps
  • Breakthrough: A huge burst of change happening all at once

While large-scale changes can lead to significant improvements, they will likely overwhelm your employees. Instead, you should consider breaking down each initiative into smaller pieces – at a department, group, or individual level. 

Smaller changes enable leaders to plan realistic milestones, making it easier to track progression and corrections when necessary. Additionally, the process eliminates abstract goals that lead to inaction among teams since employees will lack the guidelines and targets to drive change. 

For example, rather than focusing on “improving workplace transparency,” you could break it down into actionable steps like having daily debriefing or attending communication workshops.  

CIP Tip #2 – Prioritise Constant Feedback 

Feedback is vital in running any successful organisation, especially when rallying change. 

As a leader, you need to pay close attention to the perspectives and opinions of every contributor within the company. It is essential to record the points presented at every meeting and follow up on concerns and suggestions. 

Leaders can encourage feedback among the workforce by openly showing appreciation for received feedback and leaving positive body language with each response. 

Effective examples of positive nonverbal cues include nodding, leaning towards the speaker, and maintaining friendly eye contact.  

Specialised workshops like SoundWaves can help individuals gain the awareness and confidence to express themselves at the workplace. Consistent feedback provides organisations with the information required to make improved decisions without missing crucial details. 

Gradually, employees will be more willing to share their thoughts and contributions, facilitating a seamless continuous improvement process. 

CIP Tip #3 – Work with an End Goal 

Every improvement process should include a clear end goal that justifies the changes. A structured vision puts things into perspective, outlining the steps and attitude required to improve. End goals should be realistic and practical while offering a sense of challenge and urgency. 

Additionally, you should set a series of end goal timelines (i.e., 3-year and 5-year plans) to prioritise the actions and resources required for change. Always set end goals relative to your existing organisational setting to determine the work necessary to achieve the desired outcome. 

When working with an end goal, it is necessary to consider a series of questions. These thoughts may include:

  • What is the ideal workplace culture to drive and maintain the changes?
  • How will productivity and performance change between now and the desired future?
  • What are your workforce’s strengths and competencies, and how can you leverage them to achieve the end goals? 
  • What type of leadership style should you implement to increase the success of continuous improvement?

Ensure that there are quantifiable metrics such as KPIs and core employee competencies to help gauge the progress towards fulfilling an end goal. 

Your end goal serves as the north star that keeps you on track, especially when navigating a complex continuous improvement process with a multitude of changes. 

CIP Tip #4 – Clarify and Communicate End Goals 

A shared vision is necessary for driving an improvement model. Once you have collated the end goals, it is crucial to make them accessible to all stakeholders within the organisation. 

By doing so, you can receive the response necessary to fine-tune your decisions. You might discover new goals along the way to help you fulfil your objectives faster and more efficiently. 

A well-aligned company enables employees to carry organisational values uniformly, keeping themselves motivated and working collaboratively rather than in silos or competitively. 

Sometimes, employees may require subsequent reminders, guidance, or support when distracted from the end goals. 

One effective way to clarify an end goal is to link individual roles to the larger picture. Explain how an employee’s contributions have far-reaching effects on organisational progress, making individuals feel valued and appreciated. 

SoundWave’s accredited coaches can help you establish stronger relationships with employees, such as encouraging curiosity among the team through authentic conversations. 

According to a Hubspot report, 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts received greater recognition. Engaged employees with a sense of purpose are more likely to stay loyal to your company and committed to the continuous improvement process.  

CIP Tip #5 – Apply an Improvement Model Framework 

There have been multiple continuous improvement process models over the years, each with a unique and proven approach in navigating change management. 

You might consider choosing one or a combination of these frameworks from the “defining phase” (prior to implementation) to determine the most suitable match for increased chances of success. 


PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) is a continuous improvement process that systematically tests possible solutions and implements successful results. The four-step PDCA method includes:

  • Plan – identify opportunities for organisational change.
  • Do – test the change on a small scale and study the process.
  • Check –  analyse the test results and draw key learning points. 
  • Act – apply the findings and re-test the changes with a different plan if they fail to meet desired outcomes. Implement successful changes to more comprehensive organisational applications and restart the PDCA cycle for other directives. 

Six Sigma 

Six Sigma is one of the most popular continuous improvement process tools applied across organisations. Engineers at Motorolla innovated the process in the 1980s as a solution for fine-tuning their manufacturing processes. 

The concept focuses on reducing variability within a company while increasing predictability. By eliminating uncertainties, teams can gain better control and assurance over their operations. 

Decision-makers may choose to implement a Six Sigma program or create one from scratch that gears practitioners with the skills to select the most relevant tools for their project needs. The five main steps in the Six Sigma process, also known as DMAIC, are:

Define – The first step involves drafting the project charter and planning a detailed process map and the customers involved. Teams accrue knowledge by communicating with process participants and applying the information to accurately measure current capabilities/performance. 

Measure – Teams proceed to accumulate the KPIs involved to determine process standards. The collected data should shed valuable insights that form the baseline of their current processes. 

Analyse – Organisational teams will troubleshoot the various issues with existing process structures. Through thorough analysis, employees can uncover the root cause of problems and develop solutions with minimal guesswork and wasted resources. If necessary, teams should update the project charter to reflect the latest changes. 

Improve – Teams can develop practical plans in response to the issues outlined in the analyse phase. Individuals can create countermeasure ideas and identify improvements via collected data. 

Control – The final step of the Six Sigma process focuses on long-term sustainability. With a systematic control approach, teams can decide on the best practices to optimise operations. Leaders should oversee various plans (i.e., monitoring and emergency response to under-performance) to solidify the improvement process. 

Other popular continuous improvement process models include Kaizen and the Theory of Constraints

Improvement techniques mostly follow a similar theme that involves identifying a problem, testing the issue, implementing a plan, and controlling the situation with newfound data-backed knowledge that reduces uncertainty. 

CIP Tip #6 – Show Appreciation 

Organisational change management is a collective effort; everybody’s responsibility. As a leader, it is vital to guide and motivate employees across different process stages. You can achieve this by celebrating the success of each contributor. 

Simple gestures that may go a long way include sharing success stories and small incentives for a job well done. Positive work culture will keep teams focused on their tasks, inspired to assume a proactive approach in driving change within the company. 

CIP Tip #7- Repeat the Process

As the term suggests, a continuous improvement process is not a destination but an ongoing journey. It is essential to learn from previous cycles to refine future initiatives and ensure quality management. Teams need to work closely to maintain and improve existing processes through care and dedication. 

Final Words On Continuous Improvement for Organisations

An organisational leader familiar with the CIP flow recognises the time and commitment required to optimise a plan, and more importantly, acknowledges the people involved in making it a reality. 

SoundWave 360 for leaders and teams provides advanced feedback to help you improve communications that drive a continuous improvement process while engaging all stakeholders. 

By recognising and optimising your unique voice, you will have the confidence and methods to maintain effective collaborations among teams as you oversee the most complex organisational changes and tailor the most effective continuous improvement approach according to stakeholder interest. 

Begin a free SoundWave assessment today to eliminate the communication guesswork and thrive in your business transformations. 

What is the Tone of Voice?

The tone of voice in communication can be defined as the way a person speaks to other people. Often, how you say something is just as important as the content of your message.

Depending on the person you speak to and the context of the situation, you might adjust the tone of voice. When speaking to your boss, you may use a positive and polite tone. You would likely be using a formal and informative tone of voice to report knowledge or information. Conversely, you might be using a more assertive tone with a subordinate or someone who is junior to you.

Another example is how you might use a more humorous tone of voice and show more personality in an informal setting with clients you have good relationships with or colleagues.

What are the Types of Tone of Voice?

Depending on the types of conversations you’re having, the situation, and the person you’re speaking to, you might switch to a different tone of voice. There are five tones of voice which are motivational, informational, soft, humourous, and respectful.

Motivating Tone of Voice

A motivating tone of voice is often used in a leadership situation. A CEO or manager may use a motivating tone of voice to inspire others to achieve success. Having the right tone for keeping someone motivated is also about having a powerful presence and building trust with your employees, resulting in the team feeling more motivated to achieve professional success. If a leader has a mundane tone of voice, people would hear the content but not feel sufficiently motivated to make a change.

This tone is often present in the SoundWave voice of ‘to advocate’. Driven by belief and passion, this is an ideal tone of voice that can be used by both leaders and team members to motivate and inspire others towards action.

Informative Tone of Voice

An informative tone of voice in communication is often used when delivering facts with the intent to educate others. The sound of an informative tone of voice typically sounds neutral and there will not be many vocal fluctuations or emotion in the person’s voice.

For example, a supervisor might provide both positive and negative feedback to their team in an informative tone of voice. Using another tone of voice, such as a humorous tone of voice, might indicate that the supervisor doesn’t take the feedback seriously, while a soft tone of voice may not be appropriate in a team setting.

Within the SoundWave concept, the voice of ‘to correct’ best reflects this idea. It takes a cool, clear, brief and firm tone that often uses facts to set boundaries and clarify outcomes. Unlike the other voices, it has little ‘linguistic frills’, instead choosing to be direct with its intent.

soft tone of voice

Soft Tone of Voice

Soft tones are best used for personal conversations. Softer words draw the other person in, so they have to listen attentively in order to hear you.  When you speak softly, you make the other person feel safe and create the feeling of a more intimate conversation between you and the recipient. By speaking softly, you demonstrate empathy for another person which can strengthen the relationship.

Humorous Tone of Voice

You might use a humorous tone to share a funny anecdote that will lift the mood and cheer others up. There are many benefits to using humor in written and spoken communication.

When done correctly, humour used in a tongue-in-cheek manner can put the audience at ease, create a strong connection and make a better impression. A person or audience that is more engaged in the conversation will be more likely to be able to take in the information that you present.

Someone who has a good sense of humour in the company will also generally be approachable and likable. However, it’s important to not sound sarcastic or mocking, since that can hurt people’s feelings.

Respectful Tone of Voice

It’s important to take a respectful tone of voice whether you are talking to your supervisor or colleague. This also means respecting their rights and opinions when they are speaking. A respectful tone is also crucial when talking to an audience that you are meeting for the first time to make a good impression.

Respect is demonstrated by how you address someone when making contact, how you speak to them, and how you respond. It’s also asking for their opinions with the right tone.

For example, some of us may shy away from using the voice of ‘to challenge’, especially in a setting where we do not hold the authority. In such cases, it is important to draw the line in speaking up and challenging ideas with respect, instead of moving to an attack.

A sign of disrespect is when someone doesn’t listen to you. For example, they could be preoccupied with another task such as being on their cell phone or even outright ignoring you. In addition, the person could have vocal inflections where they make remarks that sound condescending or sarcastic.  When communicating respectfully, you are listening and asking questions to ensure that you understand the other person’s point of view.

What Goes Behind the Tone of Voice?

There are elements in the sound of your voice that give meaning to what you’re saying. Whether spoken or unspoken, there are subtle nuances that change the meaning. For example, two people could say the same thing but if they use different vocal tones, the message is received differently. Another example is even if a person is speaking in a foreign language, you can still figure out how they feel through their tone of voice in communication.

how breathing affects tone of voice


The speed and pace at which a person breathes can demonstrate different emotions and their demeanour. Deep and slow breathing usually helps someone to stay calm. This allows them to speak calmly and clearly so that their words are easily understood. Communicating in this manner can also inspire trust in others.

Short and quick breaths can signal distress, anxiety, or fear. Someone who has quick breathing while communicating could be seen as being nervous which can cause the other person to feel uneasy.


The volume of a person’s voice can be a sign of how they feel and how they interact with others. If someone has a meek and soft voice, it may show that the person is shy or fears confrontation. Conversely, a soft voice can also be intimate and show the listener that you’re compassionate.

Someone who speaks loudly can be interpreted as being overly authoritative, especially in a group environment. However, a loud voice can also be perceived as being obnoxious and rude. Hence, other factors are also important in determining your tone of voice.



Vocalization in communication is the ability to be understood. This means using words carefully to deliver a clear and concise message. Someone who can deliver a speech with clear vocal articulation will be seen as having an informative tone and can demonstrate their authority as an expert. However, someone who stumbles or uses long-winded language can demonstrate a lack of confidence or unclear messaging.


The speed at which a person talks can show you their emotional state. Slow and intentional speech can contribute to a powerful and commanding presence because people have to wait for you to finish speaking. On the other hand, talking slowly can show a lack of interest and apathy, and cause people to be disengaged. Someone who speaks fast could be nervous or overly excited. For example, a person blinded by the prospect of a big sale can start to speak faster than usual. If you’re pitching ideas to your boss without being sufficiently prepared, you might be nervous and speak faster.

Being able to control the speed at which you talk can help you to deliver the appropriate tone. Consciously slowing down your speech can help you have a more informative tone.

Why is Tone of Voice Important at Work?

The tone of voice can have a significant impact on a person’s communication skills, which in turn can affect how they work with their teams, how they run a business operation, and how they form relationships with customers and suppliers of the company. There are also many roles that require strong communication skills such as customer service or sales.

tone of voice for leaders

Importance for Leaders

Many employees look up to their business leaders. The best leaders are often persuasive and influential so that they can motivate people and get customers to trust them and the brand. Being able to motivate, persuade and influence will require strong mastery of tone of voice.

The importance of tone of voice is also demonstrated when a leader needs to project confidence, motivation and compassion appropriately. A commanding presence can also help to increase respect. Hence, a good leader should be able to effectively switch between all five tones of voice when needed.

Importance for Team Members

Team members need to use their words to work effectively in a group setting. Using the wrong tone of voice can damage relationships with other team members and affect the effectiveness and efficiency of your work. It’s also about knowing when to show empathy, use humour or add personality into your words to make you relatable. This also fosters authenticity, honesty, and openness so that you can get along with others.

Mastery over your tone of voice and using the right words at the right time is also very powerful. It can help you to stand out when the time comes for promotions, particularly as senior roles are often managerial roles that require working with many different stakeholders and teams. If you are a team member that makes other people feel like they can rely on you and trust you, that can give you a huge boost in your career prospects.

SoundWave Self Perception Report

To understand how your own tone of voice affects your communication with others, take the SoundWave Self Perception Report. This gives you a deeper insight into your most and least used voices, your strengths and weaknesses in your voice preference, roles, and situations that suit your voices, and more.

For any group, organization, or institution to progress sustainably, there must be some sort of leadership and followership. Not everyone can be a leader.

Everything is conversation. In order for an organization’s leadership to be sustainable, there needs to be effective and quality interactions between both leaders and employees.

How leaders choose to lead their team impacts how effective the flow of communication is, and consequently the success of the organisation. This is why it is important to uncover the prevalent style of leadership in a workplace.

In this article, we will be finding out how different leadership styles vary in workplace interaction, and why certain styles of leadership tend to communicate better in a team setting.

What Do We Mean By Leadership Style?

A person’s style of leadership is known as the methods and techniques through which they instruct, direct, motivate team members, and execute team plans in a bid to achieve the ultimate goals of the organization.

Different organizations or teams require different types of leaders. That’s why it’s crucial to apply the right leadership or management style in any given group if effective communication must take place. Using the wrong leadership approach in a group will not only disrupt information flow but will be counterproductive in the overall performance of the group.

This brings us to the next question: what are examples of leadership styles? Let’s explore the 8 most relevant styles of leadership obtainable in different organizations today.



LEADERSHIPSTYLES Coaching Leadership Democratic Leadership Transformational Leadership Transactional Leadership Servant Leadership Laissez-Faire Leadership Bureaucratic Leadership Charismatic Leadership


Uses an assertive communication style to pass information across to team members and allows feedback Uses a horizontal communication approach where there is level ground for everyone to work together towards achieving the team goal  Combines an assertive and aggressive communication style to get their points across as long as change (transformation) is achieved. Communicates with employees aggressively in a bid to achieve the expected level of productivity Uses both horizontal and upward communication approaches to interact with fellow employees and the management respectively. Adopts a passive communication style  Uses formal communication style to relate with team members Uses informal and assertive communication styles to influence followers


Allows team members to express themselves and listen actively Team members are allowed to share ideas and contribute opinions but the leader has the final say in harmonizing these opinions. Inspires team members to be change-driven and encourages rapid transformation in the system. Mainly driven by results and performance, doesn’t allow individual opinions, and is clear on the expectations, rewards, and punishments. Employees’ (servants’) feedbacks are critical for the organizational decision making Trusts employees to conduct themselves and use their creativity and experience to meet organizational goals Management is clearly structured and authority is based on hierarchies, rules, and regulations  Inspires and influences followers using exemplary qualities 
COLLABORATIONSTYLE Allows collaboration and partnership among team members. Every team member is expected to engage/participate in the process. Every team member is expected to be focused on the task at hand  Every team member is meant to follow the outlined orders and must reach the expected target. A cohesive culture exists among employees in a very supportive workplace  Workers should be responsible and accountable, hence can make certain decisions based on their relative expertise. Roles are clearly defined with each team member playing their specific roles to achieve the organizational goals. Followers are deeply bonded to the leader and are passionate to follow in his footsteps




Team members can think out of the box at times. Creativity is highly appreciated and rewarded. Creativity is highly appreciated and new ideas that can result in transformation are highly welcome There is zero tolerance for creativity. The servant’s creativity is crucial in creating a strong connection with customers Individual creativity of workers is key in achieving organizational goals.  No room for creativity since everyone must stick to the rules and due process. Creativity is leader-centered as followers  are more interested in pleasing or emulating the boss

listening skills

1. Coaching Leadership Style

A coaching leadership style looks to establish a culture of enhanced performance via collaboration, support, guidance, empowerment, and fulfillment. Coach leaders are typically inspired to bring out the best in group members via support and collaborative efforts. This is a sharp contrast to the traditional management style which restricts the full potentials of group members by relying on command, control, and force.

The coaching leadership style also harmonizes coaching philosophies, mindsets, and attitudes, to yield the most accomplished type of leadership and trigger the highest performance. In other words, a typical coaching leader would inspire his group to believe in themselves, make the right decisions, arrive at the right answers, and reach their greatest height. The assertive communication style of the leader allows him to get his points across to his team members while also allowing them to express themselves.

Some observable traits and skills of the coaching leadership style include:

  • Collaboration and partnership
  • Active listening skills
  • Trust and safety
  • A robust belief in potential
  • Feedback skills
  • Questioning skills (asking powerful but guided questions)
  • Intention
  • Self-awareness
  • Guidance and support
  • Learning & development

Strengths Of Coaching Leadership Style

The coaching style is one widely used leadership model in the world, thanks to the high level of results it engenders amongst employees.

Some benefits of working with a coaching leader in a company include the following:

  • A coaching leader encourages a two-way interaction pattern
  • They create a positive organizational culture
  • Coaching leaders focus more on collaboration and partnership
  • They are typically supportive and not judgemental
  • They identify the strengths and weaknesses of an employee and inspire them to become a better version of themselves
  • They create room for learning, creative thinking, and growth within the group.
  • A coaching leader promotes both personal and professional development of employees
  • The coaching style of leadership also encourages lots of feedbacks

Limitations Of Coaching Leadership Style

Although coaching is a widely adopted leadership model across the world, there are a few situations such an approach can raise serious concerns.

Some important disadvantages of the coaching leadership style are

  • Coaching leaders require lots of energy, time, and patience to arrive at meaningful results. You can imagine the number of resources training hundreds of employees — while maintaining focus and commitment to every one of them — would take. Of course, the entire process will be overwhelming.
  • Coaching is not quite effective for a business culture that involves high pressure and fast results.
  • Without good employee vs leader chemistry, coaching can become counterproductive.
  • Coaching only works when the group members are committed to the process.


democratic leadership style

2. Democratic Leadership Style

The word “democracy” is arguably the most popular term as far as a management style is concerned. A democratic leadership model is that which allows members of a team to participate actively and make meaningful contributions in the decision-making process. Although the leader has the final say on most decisions.

Researchers have noted that this leadership style is highly productive in both business and professional settings. This is because it provides a platform where leaders and employees can meet, discuss, and resolve issues with everyone making their respective contributions. With that, any decision made by a democratic leader is often people-oriented.

In a company where the democratic leadership style is prevalent, ideas and opinions are shared between leaders and employees to ensure that nobody is left out. That’s why the employees of a democratic-leadership company have increased morale. The main role of the leader, however, is to provide direction and ensure the goals and objectives of the team are being pursued.

The democratic style of leadership typically applies a horizontal communication approach where everyone works at the same level and contributes to achieving the team goal.

Some observable traits and characteristics of a democratic leadership style are

  • Team members are allowed to share ideas and opinions, although the leader has the final decision to make
  • Creativity is allowed and rewarded
  • Engagement and participation in the process

Aside from these three important characteristics of the democratic leadership styles, experts believe that managers and leaders with such a style are marked by impeccable honesty, courage, and intelligence. Democratic leadership style is also characterized by respect, fairness, and equity. They typically develop and inspire the followers’ trust in the process.

Strengths Of The Democratic Leadership Style

Some benefits of the democratic leadership style are

  • Democratic managers trigger followers to stay committed to projects, leading to better individual and team performance in a company or business.
  • Democratic leaders inspire more ideas and creative solutions
  • High level of honesty, fairness, and equity
  • High level of participation
  • Bolsters team relationship and morale
  • Can be applied in virtually any company or business setting

Limitations Of The Democratic Leadership Style

Some downsides to the democratic leadership style are as follows:

  • It can result in unnecessary delays, red tapes, and procrastination can develop.
  • If applied wrongly, this leadership approach can result in uncompleted projects and stunted development.
  • Goals and approaches to achieve goals are often poorly defined
  • Multiple opinions and ideas can create confusion when poorly harmonized
  • Members may not have the required expertise to make quality contributions to the process of decision-making.
  • There is no guarantee that this approach can develop sustainable solutions


transformational leadership style

3. Transformational Leadership Style

Transformational leadership is another related leadership style that looks to inspire workers to welcome change by cultivating a culture of ownership, accountability, and autonomy.  A transformational leader works with followers to get beyond their immediate self-interests and identify the needed change.

This management style develops a vision to guide a workplace transformation through influence and inspiration — and executing the transformation together with committed group members.

Transformational leaders motivate their workforce without micromanaging — they entrust trained employees with the responsibility of making critical decisions in their assigned job. It’s a management style that is primarily established to offer employees more room to be imaginative, stay focused on the future, and discover new solutions to old problems. Transformational leaders combine an assertive and aggressive communication approach to get their points across. They expect and demand change when necessary.

Some important traits of transformational leadership are

  • They entertain new ideas
  • A transformational leader adapts easily and quickly
  • Makes tough decisions
  • Takes the right risks
  • Inspires and motivates those around them
  • Has a proactive approach
  • They are visionary leaders

Strengths Of Transformational Leadership

  • Transformational leadership is a change-driven approach
  • Transformational leadership ensures the group is focused on the task at hand
  • With transformational leadership, turnover costs are greatly reduced
  • Transformational leadership encourages learning and vision
  • Transformational leadership enhances effective communication
  • Transformational leadership boosts morale

Limitations Of Transformational Leadership

  • Transformational leadership encourages lots of risk taking, which may pose a risk of unfavourable outcomes
  • Transformational leadership is not suitable for organizations that are not structured for constant changes


transactional leadership style

4. Transactional Leadership Style

Transactional leadership or transactional management is one style of leadership that is channeled towards supervision, coaching, organization, and performance. Experts believe this type of management may have started during the Industrial Revolution as a basis of competitive advantage.

Transactional leaders typically promote compliance through both rewards and punishments. These leaders only motivate their followers and improve performance in the short run. They typically communicate to workers aggressively in a bid to enforce the expected result.

Some important traits of transactional leaders include

  • Concentration on short-term goals
  • Oppose change
  • Shows support for structured policies, ideas, and procedures
  • They focus on abiding by the rules and doing things correctly
  • Highly inflexible
  • Typically left-brained
  • Revel inefficiency

Strengths Of Transactional Leaders

  • They are clear about their expectations, rewards, and punishments
  • It’s results-driven, performance-oriented, and highly productive
  • The short-term goals are easily achievable
  • Things are usually in order

Limitations Of Transactional Leaders

  • Doesn’t care about the welfare or benefit of workers
  • The inability of training or coaching of workers for better relationships
  • No leadership training, coaching, or development
  • Discourages creativity
  • It’s difficult to find a reward system that carries everyone along, which can affect performance
  • Lack of training and coaching leads to a short-term benefit.


servant leadership style

5. Servant Leadership Style

Servant leadership, simply put, is a leadership style whereby a person interacts with workers (either in a managerial or employee capacity). The specific role of servant leadership is to acquire authority instead of control or power.  Leaders who follow this style may include services-rendering employees who have a close connection with consumers and can make better decisions to retain those customers and attract new ones. Servant leaders adopt a “horizontal” and “upward” communication approach: horizontal in the sense that everyone works on level ground, and upward if the person is an employee reporting back to the management. A servant leader also uses body language to bring messages across.

Some specific traits of servant leadership are as follows:

  • Stewardship
  • Empathy
  • Awareness
  • Listening
  • Persuasion
  • Healing
  • Foresight
  • Conceptualization

Strengths Of Servant Leadership

Some benefits of servant leadership style are

  • An employee’s feedback plays a vital role in the company’s decision making
  • A high level of (workers’) loyalty results in high productivity
  • Cohesive culture and supportive environment

Limitations Of Servant Leadership

  • Adopting this type of management may require a risky cultural change
  • Most companies are not familiar with this style
  • Responsibilities might outweigh a staff member who renders services and answers to employees, customers, and the management.


Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

6. Laissez-Faire Leadership Style

Laissez-faire leaders are known to trust and believe in their employees. They don’t feel too involved or give too many instructions. People working under a laissez-faire leader are free to conduct themselves and use their creativity and experience to meet organizational goals. The leader only gives guidance and takes responsibility where and when needed. Subordinates have the real lead in the organization. These leaders typically apply the passive communication style.

Some traits of a laissez-faire leader are

  • Little or no guidance
  • Followers can feel free to make decisions based on their expertise.
  • Constructive criticism from the lead

Strengths Of Laissez-Faire Leadership

  • A follower-centered approach keeps workers motivated
  • Workers feel trusted and will try not to betray the trust
  • Workers are highly responsible and accountable
  • A highly creative environment

Limitations Of Laissez-Faire Leadership

  • Leaders are less concerned and less involved
  • Lack of direction
  • No clarity of roles


bureaucratic leadership style

7. Bureaucratic Leadership Style

Bureaucracy is another popular type of management in which leadership is based on fixed official duties, rules, regulations, and hierarchies.

Both the leaders and followers are answerable to the system and hence must adhere to the stipulated work ethics.  Leaders only communicate to followers based on a system of behavioral and technical principles that define the extent of their authority. In other words, bureaucratic leaders are more inclined to use a formal communication style while relating to team members.

Some traits of bureaucratic leadership are

  • Management is well structured and organized
  • Hierarchies
  • Rules and Regulations
  • System-oriented

Strengths Of Bureaucratic Leadership

  • Roles are clearly defined
  • Rules and regulations eliminate all forms of favoritism
  • Promotes feedback
  • It’s a predictable and reliable form of leadership
  • It’s based on best practices and standards
  • A highly organized form of leadership

Limitations Of Bureaucratic Leadership

  • Involves lots of red tapes and hierarchies that can ultimately delay decision-making.
  • Productivity tends to be slower
  • Doesn’t create room for creativity
  • Adapting to change can be a major challenge


charismatic leadership style

8. Charismatic Leadership Style

Charismatic leadership is a personality-inspired leadership model that combines charm, persuasive communication, and interpersonal relationship, to influence and motivate others. Charismatic leaders typically tap into people’s emotions to create a sense of trust, passion, and purpose that is beyond their personal choices.

Charismatic leaders are known to use informal and assertive communication approaches to influence their followers.

Here are some traits of a charismatic leader:

  • They communicate well
  • They are confident and optimistic
  • They are aware of themselves
  • They feel empathy
  • They are humble
  • They are passionate
  • They have a high level of emotional intelligence

Strengths Of Charismatic Leadership

  • It creates an emotional appeal
  • Considers employees’ feelings and state of mind
  • Can be used as a means of influencing workers positively
  • It creates a strong bond between the leader and followers

Limitations Of Charismatic Leadership

  • Doesn’t support creativity on the followers’ end
  • The whole process depends on the brain and energy of one man: the leader.
  • It can be used for specific selfish ambitions
  • Only a thin line stands between charismatic and autocratic leadership.


Assess Your Communication Style with SoundWave 360

SoundWave 360 is a comprehensive leadership assessment and feedback tool which offers insights on how others perceive you based on how you communicate to them either as a leader or follower.

The tool uncovers your special leadership traits and improves those innate abilities, boosting your mastery of how to engage in sensitive conversations to influence your teammates. Take the SoundWave 360 Assessment today.

Do you often find yourself struggling to make conversations? Or maybe having difficulty in communicating your thoughts with ease?

Communication is a make or break business skill. If you think about it, the most successful managers and team players not only know how to communicate efficiently, but are able to initiate good conversations as well.

It’s in your interest to focus on your conversational skills and ways on how you can improve them—better opportunities find you when you are able to stand out and make a good impression with your people skills. Yet often, we encounter people struggling to communicate clearly, perhaps due to their personality, their cultural background, or maybe their language ability.

And that’s where communication coaching can be helpful. If you’re looking to upgrade your ability to communicate and get your point across with ease, nothing would be better than an experienced guide who will be able to provide you with quality feedback on how you can improve your communication skills and have better conversations.

Read more as we take you down the road of communication in coaching, good conversation skills, and some basic conversational tips and ideas you should live by the next time you’re required to approach and express yourself in front of another person.

5 Most Important Conversation Skills At Work

The power of effective communication is indisputable.

An exemplary spokesman not only has the power to influence their listeners—the way they lead the conversation can affect the quality of the feedback they get from someone else in the audience.

A well-communicated speech can guide the audience towards forming an opinion of their own and therefore create stronger business bonds and connections in the workplace.

But these skills are not easily acquired. They’re gained through dedication, everyday practice, and better control of your language and eye contact.

Here are five conversational skills that are essential if you want to move up at work.

listening skills

Listening Skills

Don’t just talk; listen.

During the listening, the primary source of attention should be your conversation partner, meaning—you shouldn’t let distractions such as exterior sounds, cell phones ringing, or whispering make you deviate from the topic of the conversation.

How we talk is a major driver of how we listen. It is not enough for us to simply provide attention, but to also practice active listening. Active listening is crucial for communication in the office. A good listener can understand their partner, engage with them, and respond by asking the right follow-up question, telling the best course of action, or suggesting the right options.

Also, eye contact is essential—by maintaining constant eye contact, the listener will feel safe and free to express their ideas.

Straight Talking

It is always refreshing to meet people who are honest, direct and upfront in conversations. Known as Straight Talking, this is a skill that is vital especially for those whose job entails direction, supervision, evaluation, or management in any form.

Some people may find it intimidating, but when approached the right way, Straight Talk can be especially valuable in conversations.

The key is to ensure that your speech is clear, straightforward and audible. It’s quite inevitable for people to make digressions to make their speech interesting, relatable, and close to everyday life, but you should go towards the message you’re trying to convey – that’s the most important part.

Next, don’t go through your speech by using just one tone – move your pitch up and down, speaking clearly and loudly when you want to emphasize something. Keeping your speech dull and having bad posture while delivering the message can create all kinds of unwanted attention. For example, it may seem like you’re disinterested – and that’s not what you’re trying to convey, is it?

Choosing the right words and speaking with confidence will promote the desired focus and response. It doesn’t matter if it’s just small talk or a 30-minute long presentation – make it look like you’re ready to lead the conversation. Remember, self-confidence is the basis of effective conversations!

body language

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal gestures, otherwise known as body language, are an integral part of any well-formed speech.

A good example of non-verbal messages used in the workspace would be relying on different facial expressions, hand movements, eye contact, attitude, and tone of your voice. In most cases, it proves to be helpful because it brings a deeper sense of nuance to the topic you’re discussing.

An occasional smile can exhibit a positive attitude – no one wants to listen to an ill-tempered spokesman. Even with professional topics, presenters rely on hand gestures to get their point across, and it helps them achieve the desired effect.

What’s interesting here?

Numerous studies have shown that more than 93% of communication is non-verbal. So, the next time a person holds a presentation, pay attention to their body language as they talk. You’ll notice that they carry more emotion and feelings than the actual words on the board.

Stress Management

You won’t be delivering good news all the time. Work causes stress, and you’re required to respond adequately to it.

Some people have a natural ability to thrive under stress. But for others, the presence of it can be a problem in impacting the quality of  communication, relationships, and even behavior in the workplace.

People stress about a lot in their work environment – deadlines, quality of work, new rules, personal issues, etc. And a stressful business relationship often sends the wrong message.

For example, were you ever in a conversation with a colleague, only to realize that you’ve unintentionally hurt their feelings afterwards? Perhaps you were too occupied with your work and internal distractions, that you lost focus on what you meant to say!

It happens all too often in conversations. Luckily enough, there are ways to minimize the “damage.”

Emotion Control

The emotions you display during your speech and conversations, in general, are a handy tool to influence another person. However, this is only effective if you need to learn how to control them and not get carried away.

An emotionally intelligent person has a huge advantage, whether it’s a one-on-one consultation or a team meeting. If you can easily notice and manage the emotions of your co-workers and listeners in general, you can anticipate an appropriate response.

It is important to practice emotional intelligence in the workplace. If you fail to consider your co-workers’ feelings, the situation could develop into frustration, create a negative atmosphere, and miscommunication. This may result in a distant and cold relationship with their listeners and fail to establish a connection.

Your conversations with your team require an appropriate emotional connection.

communication coaching

How to Improve Your Conversation Skills Via Communication Coaching

First off, what is communication coaching?

In essence, it’s skill-based training that aims to help people own their conversation by using the appropriate and effective communication tools.

In our day and age, a significant number of leading corporations and businesses have dedicated themselves to improving this aspect of their business. The results are visible in more successful performance and employee engagement – the key to every successful business.

But communication is not just business-wise. Like we said – it has a deeper meaning. It’s about encouraging curiosity and showing compassion through conversation with your partner.

A communication coach is a professional that works with an individual who wants to upgrade their conversation skills.

It’s a process that you work on and practice every day, bit by bit.  You could say that the rules and tips of communication techniques are your gateways into the world on healthy connections and on-point speeches. That’s why the goal of this management tool is to enhance engagement through the art of conversation.

Types Of Communication Coaching

Communication coaching can help you get your message across successfully, and it’s becoming more and more popular in the business world. With more traction and experience, coaching professionals were able to develop numerous types that fit different conversation needs.

Communication In Coaching – Types To Practice

Voice Coaching

As we said, it’s not just essential to deliver the message; the way you do it matters, too.

Voice coaching aims to help future leaders and managers convey their message with feeling. You’ll learn how to speak passionately about the topic you’re in charge of, and therefore, connect with your audience on deeper, personal levels.

With voice coaching, the pitch is key. Controlling your voice and creating the right tone for the topic you’re talking about can greatly influence the overall performance.

The Brilliance 3 Communication Styles Assessment at SoundWave is a great way to discover your top 3 voices, and work towards better communication skills with your team members, employees and managers. The useful thing about this is that you can further use the skills you gained to create open relationships and enhance your work performance.

Speech Therapy For Foreign Accents

It’s easy to misunderstand a speaker who’s not a native English speaker.

Even if they try to make it sound like they’re fluent, you will still be able to pick up on vocabulary or grammar mistakes. That becomes a problem when the conversation is professional and implies the use of a specific vocabulary.

Speech therapy for foreign accents can help foreign speakers better grasp English and practice their accent and pronunciation through specially designed methods.

communication coaching

Advertising And Company Image Service

If you’re in charge of promoting your company, you can’t afford to make mistakes in your presentation because it can cost the company its image.

However, it’s easier said than done. Speaking about business-related topics requires a certain degree of preparation, and communication coaching aims to teach spokesmen how to do it properly, without deviating from the topic or causing a misunderstanding.

This method involves using certain sentence structures, avoiding blanks such as “um,” choosing the right adjectives, and many more.

Emotional Intelligence Training

If you manage to reach the hearts and minds of your listeners, you can call it a job well done.

Emotional intelligence training aims to do just that – work on your business relationships and establish assertiveness. It might have a positive effect on your self-awareness and well-being, too.

Team Building

We hear about team building all the time, but do we really take it into account?

It’s not all about the leaders. They’re important links in the business chain, but without employees working together and communicating openly, it’s equal to zero productivity.

Team building is all about improving relationships between co-workers and encouraging them to work together towards a common goal.

Systemic Coaching

Systemic coaching puts emphasis on the client.  The aim is for the client to reach a sense of clarity and solution. The coaching focuses on giving expert advice in terms of technical input, experience, etc. It helps the client grasp real situations instead of focusing on objectivity.

Need A Communication Coach? SoundWave Is Here.

There’s much more to communication than just exchanging words.

It’s about forming a bond with your listeners, creating an open and authentic relationship, and exchanging ideas that spark up the conversation and keep it going.

If this is what you’re aiming for, then SoundWave is your go-to spot. Here, our accredited coaches help you develop effective conversation strategies based on your profile and requirements.

Our team’s mission is to help you:

  • Build stronger relationships with your team members through effective communication
  • Learn how to approach difficult topics and resolve issues by using the right tools
  • Encourage curiosity in your conversations
  • Show compassion and work towards more successful business relationships

Match with the best communication coach and start working on owning your conversation!