Being able to communicate effectively is perhaps the most important of all leadership skills. It is what enables us to pass information to other people and to understand what is being said to us, the foundation of productivity and strong relationships.

It was Dale Carnegie who stated, in How to Win Friends and Influence People, that 90 percent of all management problems are caused by miscommunication. Here are some of the ways the best leaders avoid miscommunication:

They listen to understand. People want to know they’re being heard. The best leaders take care to really listen to what the other person is saying instead of thinking about their own response.

They are constantly asking for clarification to avoid misunderstandings. Taking the trouble to build understanding lets the person you’re speaking with know that you’re taking them seriously.