Communication: The Competency that Can Make or Break Great Leadership

Nearly 90% of leaders believe they are self-aware, but only 15% are actually self-aware. That number is shocking!

Perhaps even more astounding is that there’s a direct link between self-awareness and communication. Bad or ineffective communication might be holding a leader back in their efforts to become a better leader! In fact, poor communication from leaders has been identified as one of the most significant reasons for employee turnover and disengagement. Communication must be top of mind for leaders and we must work on communicating effectively at all levels.

The most effective leaders know in order to build trust with team members they must communicate not only in a consistent way, but with honesty and transparency. When leaders are not clear in their communication, frequently make changes to what they are asking, don’t listen or share information readily, or are disrespectful to those with whom they are speaking, it can be quite damaging. Communication is important at all levels. We must make certain that we are communicating all we can, in the right way; It’s what moves people to action and inspires what they are doing!

Great leaders give context to “what” they are asking people to do, explain “why,” and the impact of what they are asking for, instead of simply making demands on their team. They take the time to explain what they are thinking and ask for input so team members feel engaged in the conversation and appreciated for their expertise.

Great leaders ask “why” the organization is doing things before they ask for others to change the way they are doing things. They “seek to understand” and to make sure they really “hear” what others are telling them. They solicit input from others and really listen to what others are saying.

If organizations expect to recruit and retain the very “best” talent, then they need to make certain they are giving voice to those who will be charged with carrying out whatever it takes to make the organization thrive. Leaders need to create meaning for those they expect to follow them and express genuine appreciation for what they are adding to the organization. Leaders must do this consistently so team members “believe” in what they are saying- and that their communication becomes predictable and something they can rely on “time after time”.

If leaders are not prepared to share answers to the basic questions, of who, what, where, when, and why, they can be assured that communication will break down somewhere; They and they have only themselves to blame. Leaders who don’t communicate cannot create “followership” from their teams. 

Good leadership takes great communication.  If leaders listen and respond to all voices, communicate honestly, let them know that they’ve been heard, and take their viewpoints into consideration, the entire organization will benefit. 

Whether leading Millennials, Gen Z’s or Baby Boomers, the one thing they all have in common is that they want to know how they can make a difference for the business, what success looks like, that they’re being listened to, and there’s transparency in what’s being communicated to them. If leaders can do this consistently, they will inspire those around them to help the business succeed.

Greater self-awareness and good communications skills can be coached and developed.  Let us show you how.  Contact Patty Prosser for more information.

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