Part Two of Seven on Leadership:The Seven Commitments to Answering the Call to Lead
You are always communicating. Always!
Leadership is most often described as having the ability to influence others. It’s no surprise that most of our influence stems from how we communicate. Most problems come from poor communication, and most success from great communication. Seize the power of praise and encouragement. Learn to say, “No.” Master how you communicate with yourself and others.
A leader is someone who says, “Follow me,” not just with their words, but with every action they take and every decision they make. Leaders are constantly communicating.
How do leaders communicate? With every step and word. They communicate with their body language, what they wear, and the activities they involve themselves with and what time they show up at the job. Leaders communicate from the first handshake to the last pat on the back, and every email, thank-you card, and phone call in between. Leaders are constantly communicating, even when they think they aren’t.
Fair or not, we make opinions about people the moment we see them, and the same is true of leaders. A leader must be authentic and true to himself, but simultaneously cautious of the messages he is sending, both literally in a world of constant contact and communications, and symbolically through appearances. Communication is important.
How important is communication? Consider this, when something goes wrong and a complaint is filed within an organization or team, nine times out of ten the problem is one of communication. Furthermore, when a company or organization receives praise, the praise is better than 50% based on how well someone with that group communicated with someone outside.
Master communication and you will become a great leader.
Unfortunately, the majority of communication in our lives is complaints. A leader cannot be part of that. I have always lived by the saying, “those who gossip with you, gossip about you.” I make no room in my life for gossip. It’s not a part of me or my plan. Gossip is too small for me and so is complaining. I leapfrog it and go directly to work on repairing the problem. Instead of saying, “You know what’s wrong…” work on “you know what would make it even better? Let me share my idea.”
Communication is either 95% of your problem or 95% of your success.
The one thing you must know about communication as a leader!
Many people falsely believe they can avoid a problem by not talking about it. Know this, leaders that do not communicate, create more problems than leaders that communicate poorly. You want to communicate even if the message isn’t popular, even if you know the message will not be well received. It is your duty to communicate that message to your team and it will create more forward moving momentum than no message at all. Why is this so? In the absence of communication, people will create their own story of why things are happening. If your lack of communication is creating gaps, please know that people are going to fill those gaps in with whatever information they choose, and quite often it is inaccurate gossip that will be more damaging to morale and the overall vision of the team. In short, absence of communication is still communication, and it is the worst type of communication a leader can issue.
Remember, you are always communicating.