WHY COMMUNICATION MATTERS IN LEADERSHIP

A good leader is someone who inspires positive, ongoing change by empowering their employees to work toward common objectives. Communication is the most powerful and effective means of doing so; this is how you align goals, build mutual trust, and overcome barriers to progress.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, poor communication is most often caused by differences in communication styles. 86% of employees and executives cite the lack of communication as the main cause of workplace failure and 28% of employees cite poor communication as the reason for missing deadlines. If you clearly identify your style of leadership and communication, you’ll get an idea of how you’re perceived across the organization as well as what changes need to be made in order to tailor your communication style to the needs of employees. Maybe you’re a highly authoritative leader with a clear vision, but the company requires more autonomy in order to make sure everything can operate smoothly. Maybe the exact opposite is required – too much leeway is given and as a result, goals, and motivations are disparate and clash with each other.

Equally important is the emotional intelligence of the communicator – can they communicate frankly and effectively while remaining transparent, empathetic, and accepting of feedback?

  • Transparency – More than a third of senior employees responded to a survey saying they ‘hardly ever’ know what is going on in their company. Transparency about opportunities and challenges can build trust and create an environment where employees feel empowered to collaborate, encourage experimentation, and acknowledge mistakes.
  • Empathy – Employees feel valued and heard the more they are acknowledged and understood. In fact, 96% of employees polled said it was important that they feel their employers can demonstrate empathy, while 92% of respondents in the same survey said[CA1]  empathy was an undervalued trait.
  • Receptive – A trusted leader is one whose team feels they can approach with feedback, and who also acts on it. Continually failing to implement meaningful changes can cause a team to lose trust. Of course, any leader is going to hear suggestions which can’t be immediately acted upon; be transparent about it, let those employees know they were heard, and keep them apprised of any updates. Nearly half of American workers have considered quitting a job due to a lack of recognition.
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