It was Jack Welch of GE who said that leadership is 80% about people and 20% about other things. I think this is really true. I also believe what is even more true is that 80% of leadership is about effective communication. When someone says “what a great leader..”, more often than not they are really talking about that person’s ability to convey ideas effectively. Here are 3 ways communication becomes the primary driver of leadership…
It is a fact that it is not possible to be an effective leader without being a very good communicator. The 3 key communication strategies that get people to respond to your instruction has little to do with your English language proficiency, your vocabulary, your assertiveness. All of these may have some small effect; however these things are all about you. But communication is not about you – it is about them. Is it any wonder then that the 5 key communication strategies is about them?
1- Really Listen to Others
A common reason for not being able to listen well, despite wanting to, is that we are conditioned to believe from early on that listening somehow implies agreement. Therefore we try hard to interject and present our point of view. A simple shift in our communication mindset, that listening is acknowledging what the other person is not necessarily agreeing, can produce quite a change in our readiness to listen and overall communication effectiveness.
It is also an amazing fact that once you have really listened to someone with an open mind and have registered and acknowledged what they have said, they are much more willing to accept your point of view even though you haven’t stated it yet.
2- Lean In Favor of Directness
Whether it is giving feedback, handling a difficult employee, making a suggestion to a boss or offering praise to a team member, I have always found – with few exceptions – that being direct is much better than all those “sandwich” approaches where you say something positive, then something quite the opposite then positive again. People can figure out if you want to help them or deride them. This intent is more important to them than whether you are being “nice” to them.
3. Win Over The Person Too
Just winning the argument doesn’t imply communications success. One of the greatest truths is that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You need to get close to the people you communicate with. How can you know what they think or need if you stay at a distance?