Why should you care about leadership communication if you are not a leader? (….or maybe you are?)
What is leadership by the way?
There is no easy answer to this question apparently although many have tried to answer it.
Kevin Kruse*, a contributor to Forbes even compiled some definitions before offering his own: “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal”
I personally like to think that a leader is a person who inspires others to follow them, through their vision and clear course of action. Leaders don’t necessarily have big job titles. You can be a leader amongst your group of friends or family members, in your community or at work, without having people reporting to you. And if you don’t consider yourself a leader, think twice: you are the leader of your life.
Leaders come in all shapes and forms. Some are outspoken, some are introverts. Some are young, some are old. Now one characteristic all leaders share is they inspire confidence. And one skill all leaders use is communication. You can have the most inspiring vision, but if you don’t share it, it’s useless. You can have the most brilliant plan to make this vision a reality, if you cannot articulate it, it’s useless. If you do not communicate in a way that gets people to care, to trust you and to open up to you, it’s useless.
If after a shipwreck you are stranded on a deserted island, who will you follow? The hunter who silently builds a bow and arrows and slips into the wood? The engineer who goes about collecting parts on the beach to build a makeshift raft, or the person who says loud and clear “If we want to survive we need to have a plan. We need to assign roles to ensure that by the end of the day we have shelter, drinking water and food for all. If we work together we will make it alive. Who is with me?”
If you are a leader or a manager, communication is your best friend. It’s quite simple: do not communicate and you will make your life and the lives of your peers, employees, business partners very difficult. Ultimately you will fail as instead of creating clarity, trust and action you will create inefficiency, doubt and chaos.
Thousands of books (14,989 according to Amazon.com) have been written on leadership communication. And Google lists 460 million entries on the topic. You want to improve your communication skills but don’t know where to start? I can understand that – as Barry Schwartz explain in The Paradox of Choice, too many options create anxiety, paralysis and perpetual stress.
So, let’s see if I can relieve some of your anxiety, paralysis and stress. What I propose to do is a series of articles based on what I have observed and learnt in nearly two decades working in the communication field, with leaders, managers, and communication professionals.
My hope is that it will inspire people to reflect, share their own experience and that every leader or manager visiting these pages finds useful tips.
I will do my best to answer any question you may have on the topic if you add a comment or send me a private message. Suggestions of topics are also most welcome.
Who is with me?
The first article of the series will be If you don’t know the purpose of your communication, don’t bother communicating…
This article was first published on LinkedIn in December 2017 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-should-you-care-leadership-communication-leader-maybe-boschwitz/