If you want to be a good leader, you have to be able to communicate. It’s not just a skill to learn, but it’s a discipline to apply.
We know that there are 4 basic ways to communicate:
Another form of communication that might not fit in the above list would be any “non-verbal” communication we do with body language, but let’s focus on the 4 above.
As a Leader:
*SPEAKING is essential. Speaking enables you to share your vision, your passion, your direction and to lead your team by inspiring them to action. We need to learn to speak clearly and how to use the right words to motivate the people around us.
Mike Myatt makes this point on Forbes.com:
“When you speak, know what you’re talking about.” He goes on to simply say that if you don’t possess the subject matter expertise needed, others won’t listen. You should be sure that you know what you’re talking about, or bring in the experts to help you! Don’t try to fake it. Others will see right through that.
*LISTENING is foundational. Many times, leaders spend twice as much time talking as they do listening. I’ve been reminded by others many times that God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason! Why is this so difficult to understand?
Neil Petch writes on Entrepreneur.com:
“Take the time to understand the situation before commenting.” He goes on to discuss the need for leaders to try to understand what is really going on instead of diving into new territory, making a lot of assumptions.
*WRITING is universal. With the growth of e-mail, Twitter and other social media, we use writing to communicate quickly and globally.
On Inc.com, the team writes about e-mail communication:
“E-mail has transformed communication, but many users of e-mail technology pay attention to basic rules of grammar and format when composing letters.” The article goes on to talk about how lazy we have gotten in our communication, and how unprofessional it is.
There are wonderful tools built into your computer that will check for spelling and grammar, yet we are often moving so fast that we don’t take the time to proof read our communication, to check to ensure that we’re saying what we want to say, and to say it clearly. We choose “quick communication” over “good communication”.
*READING is empowering. We read to learn and to gather information. We read to listen to others as they share their ideas in print. We read to connect to people around the world.
skillsyouneed.com talks about reading:
“Learning, therefore, comes about not from reading and remembering details, but from developing your understanding of the meaning of the details, and to engage with your ideas and opinions and rethink them in a positive and constructive way.”
Don’t read just to get through the text or the assignment. Read to be challenged in the way you think and form your opinions. Allow time to process what you’re reading.
I want to challenge you in your communication. If you want to be an effective leader, you need to learn to master the 4 communication mediums explained above, as well as others! Often one of the above comes more naturally than the others, so we rely on that. As a leader, learn to use all 4. Your team, your direct reports, your constituents, even your family and friends will appreciate it.
Be a Leader that Communicates!
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