We all know that the leadership qualities exhibited by effective leaders must include being strategic, “smart” in their industry, able to build and motivate teams and, of course, get results. Through the years and thousands of people we have worked with in our coaching and leadership development work in OI Partners, we see that the key to being an effective leader lies in the ability to communicate.
Here are 4 communication qualities that effective leaders must possess:
- Communicate strategy – Leaders have to effectively share their strategic vision and plans. If employees don’t know why something is important, they can’t help the company accomplish its goals. Often it’s the “rank-and-file” employees who inadvertently block a key initiative because they did not understand how their work could impact the goal.
- Communicate industry knowledge – Leaders need to gather, process and then share industry knowledge. Employees don’t expect their leaders to know everything about every aspect of their industry. But they expect leaders to be inquisitive and have input from key people throughout the organization before they make decisions that will impact the way work is done.
- Communicate appreciation – In a 2013 survey conducted by OI Partners on Retaining Talent, business leaders spoke about the importance of recognizing and developing key employees in an effort to retain them. Effective leaders understand that people are motivated and engaged when they are treated as if they have value—compensation is not enough! Leaders who take time to share concepts and plans and ask for input, who find ways to communicate their appreciation for contributions made, are the most effective in building and motivating teams.
- Communicate successes and failures – Leaders whom I coach are often able to share with pride the ways they communicate and celebrate the successes the organization achieves. More often, they are surprised to hear me ask how they communicate failures, both personal and organizational. I explain that these benefits of sharing a time from their career path that they failed or made a mistake a) provides an opportunity to discuss what lessons the leader learned and what changes he/she made in their work style or decision making to prevent similar mistakes and b) models for an employee that it’s okay to make a mistake as long as you learn from it. People want to work for leaders who communicate that failure is part of life.
It’s not new, it’s not ground-breaking, but it’s the truth. Every day, every leader must work on communicating. Those who do will be the ones that people will follow and help them execute their visions.
Please share your observations of effective leaders and how their communication positively impacts an organization.
Mary Ann Gontin is Managing Partner of OI Global Partners – Cunis & Gontin, Inc. in Connecticut. Her firm has been providing human resources consulting services since 1974. Mary Ann has become recognized by clients for her ability to identify organizational and individual performance issues and propose creative and practical solutions. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-473-4507.