The Second Side of Leadership is Communication

Vision is the first side of leadership but vision alone is not enough. As a leader, you must communicate your vision to your followers.

Pat Williams explains in his book, Leadership Excellence the second side of leadership is communication.

So the question is: How can I become a more effective communicator and leader? What are the ingredients of effective communication?

Effective leaders communicate the vision again and again and again. By the tenth time you have pitched the vision to your team, you are definitely getting sick of talking about it – but you’re people are just beginning to grasp it. Don’t let up. Keep communicating your vision.

There are 6 keys to effective leadership communication:

First … Believe in the power of communication. You must believe it’s important to be an effective communicator. You must believe in the power of communication – and you must become an effective talker.

Anyone can issue orders and demand compliance. But only a genuine leader can inspire a team and motivate people to go above and beyond mere compliance.

When a leader doesn’t believe in communication, the organization lacks passion and enthusiasm.

If you want to excel, to achieve dreams, to shoot for the moon, then you must become a communicator.

Second … Communicate so people understand. Have you ever walked out of a meeting and said to yourself or whispered to your seatmate, “What was that all about? Did we decide anything? Can you translate it for me?”

Never communicate merely to impress others. Avoid big words, jargon, and bureaucratese just to give you an air of expertise. Don’t say “diminutive” when you mean “small” or “substantiate” when you mean, “prove”.

Always say exactly what you mean. Say it clearly and concisely as you can. Never assume that just because you said it, others understand. Ask for feedback and discussion. And above all keep it simple.

Third … Communicate optimism. Every day as a leader, you must decide: “Am I going to be a leader of optimism or a leader of pessimism to my people?” Optimism trumps pessimism every time.

As leaders, we choose whether to frame difficulties as challenges and opportunities or as trials and tribulations

Fourth … Communicate hope. Hope is the future that binds people together as a team, a community, or an organization. Whether you lead a family, a business, a church, or a military organization, you must communicate hope. You must keep hope alive. In the book, Pat goes on to tell several interesting stories of hope that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Fifth … Communicate to motivate and inspire. You must understand people’s motives - you must understand what moves them – in order to motivate and inspire them. Some people are motivated by a pat on the back, others by a kick in the pants. Some are inspired by having lunch with the boss, others by awards and public recognition, and others by a private word of praise or a hand written note. Don’t assume that the only thing that motivates people is money – but at the same time, be aware that money is a potent motivator.

Find out what motivates each of the people on your team – then custom design the right approach for each one. Get to know your people as individuals and learn how to inspire them.

Sixth … Become a storyteller. The greatest leaders are storytellers. We are hardwired to retain stories.

Stories are powerful because they reach the emotions. Information and statistics are aimed at the logic centers of the brain, but stories go right to the human heart. The great Dale Carnegie once said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”

I hope you are able to use these keys to effective communication to lead your team to success.