Guest post by Chris Holliday
When leaders stop communicating they stop leading.
Because executives are always communicating – through your words and actions, and through your silence and inactions. However, you may not always be aware of how your communication is received.
The way that employees, peers, clients, prospective customers, and more senior executives perceive your messaging – whether intentional or unintentional – impacts your effectiveness and your career. This happens in a few different ways.
The Many Effects of Your Ability to Communicate
Communication affects productivity and efficiency. When it is clear, transparent, and consistent, messages around tasks, projects, and responsibilities enable work processes and assignments to flow smoothly. Feedback that is specific, honest, direct, and timely enables others to adjust their behavior and performance in ways that benefit the organization.
Communication affects a leader’s credibility and reputation. When your actions are aligned with your words, your communication is far more likely to have a desirable impact. You create trust that liberates organizations and boosts careers. It earns engagement.
Communication reflects levels of self-awareness and emotional maturity. When leaders use situationally appropriate language and tone you are viewed as stable and reliable. Trustworthy. People gravitate toward you. You become the “go to” when things get tough, or when answers are hard to find. Your value increases.
When leaders develop masterful listening skills (the oft forgotten half of communication), you’re able to influence effectively, and solve problems that others can’t. You have your finger on the pulse of the organization and can steer attitudes and culture in productive directions. Again, more value.
When leaders become adept at flexing to adapt to others’ communication styles, your reach extends exponentially. The same is true when you hone your storytelling abilities. It’s like you become multilingual, translating strategy, vision, and mission into powerful messages, mastering the room, the organization, and beyond.
How can you improve?
Making meaningful improvements in your ability to communicate effectively is extremely hard to do in isolation – after all, by definition communication occurs when there is an exchange. Executive coaches who specialize in communications work with leaders to identify the impact of your communication and create new goals. They collaborate with you to develop an authentic communication style that has a positive impact on productivity and engagement, boosts credibility, and reflects executive maturity while influencing key stakeholders. They work on establishing both the “what” and the “how” of communication that matters.
With the help of a communications coach you will become an executive who gets better results through new and enhanced skills, with an effective, “true-to-you” style. You become a trusted and respected leader with a reputation for executive maturity and listening. You’ll be known for saying the right things at the right time in the right way. You’re more valuable to your employees and to the organization. You’re more promotable.
There has never been a more challenging time for communication than in this work from home era. And at the same time, it’s never been more important.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Now is not the time for illusions and ambiguity. It’s time to truly master leading through strong communication.