Knowing where to take your business is down to your ability to create a compelling mission above profit. Your strategic effectiveness is then required to create the long term plans of action to achieve the mission. Knowing what those who would be led, need to be led at this point in time to support and execute the achievement of the mission is part of the art of the leadership of people. The problem is that this artistry takes deep practice.
Part of the science of breaking down this art of the leadership of people is to consistently apply effective communication principles. A failure to do this long term will undermine your ability to lead effectively.
In analysing the communication skills of great leaders, 7 unusually effective principles can be observed:
- Vigorous transparency: you need to revel in what makes you an individual and don’t hide your true nature. A failure to do this will undermine your ability to lead as you confuse those who would follow you. Humans are acutely attuned to assessing internal consistencies in others and then creating mental profiles of them. A failure to be transparent and true to yourself distorts this.
- Write your script for the year: most strategic planning cycles are on an annual basis with quarterly or half-yearly reviews. A CEO’s core message for the period needs to be clear and word perfect at its heart. Inconsistency or flip-flopping similar, but slightly different messaging causes confusion and confidence to be undermined.
- Communicate with relentless empathy: your understanding of your team as people with all their unique strengths and foibles – not just as employees – has to be balanced with tough love. The relentlessness of your empathy needs to come from never decreasing your expectations or failing to pursue the commitments and accountabilities of your team. Whilst all the time acknowledging why they fail, if they fail – but never accepting it – allows you to be caring but driving as a leader.
- Show some of your failings: humans want to be led by humans, not high-performing business machines they cannot relate to. Your leadership is enhanced by communicating selective weaknesses, whilst at the same time showing how you overcome and address them.
- Constant simple repetition: the repetition of the same set of messages is not a sophisticated way of communicating. But in the same way advertising messages are repeated and stick in your consciousness, so too a CEO’s communications should remain simple and constant around the core corporate messages for the strategic execution you want focus on.
- Kill the logic and analysis: to be led, we want to be passionately engaged – not just convinced with data and graphs. Lead your communications with intuition because leadership is about knowing what those who would be led need to be led at this point in time. Just ensure that you recognise that intuition doesn’t exist – it’s all about the niche practice.
- Sometimes get lost in the moment: there are few things more engaging than feeding off the passion of others. As the leader of your organisation, you can engage differently and more deeply by occasionally dropping your control while communicating and getting passionately lost in the moment. Always find your way back to the script, but these pure moments of you being truly you consolidate many of the points above in the heads and hearts of the people you lead.
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