On this Magic Monday, we’re featuring the Center for Creative Leadership’s sound advice on why communication is so important for leaders.

One Idea

Communication is a core leadership function.  You must learn to handle the rapid flows of information within the organization, and among customers, partners, and other stakeholders and influencers.

Three Facts

#1 – Authenticity counts, a lot. Be honest and sincere. Find your own voice; quit using corporate-speak or sounding like someone you’re not. Let who you are, where you come from, and what you value come through in your communication.

#2 – Visibility is a form of communication. Show up. In person. As often as possible. People need to see and feel who you are to feel connected to the work you want them to do.

#3 – Listening is a powerful skill. When you listen well, you gain a clear understanding of another’s perspective and knowledge. Listening fosters trust, respect, and openness.

Five Tips

#1 – Communicate relentlessly. Communicate information, thoughts and ideas clearly — and frequently — in different media. Keep processes open and transparent and find ways to help smooth the path of communication for your team or organization.

#2 – Simplify. Say what you mean. Be direct. Don’t hide behind complexity or pile on a ton of information. Simple communication can be smart communication.

#3 – Hold your thoughts. Pause. Be OK with silence. Encourage the other person to offer ideas and solutions before you give yours. Do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking.

#4 – Use stories. When you tell a good story, you give life to a vision, goal, or objective. The telling of stories creates trust, captures hearts and minds, and serves as a reminder of the vision. Plus, people find it easier to repeat a story or refer to an image or quote than to talk about a vision statement or a strategy document or a project plan.

#5 – Back it up. If people hear one thing from you and see another, your credibility is shot. People need to trust you. Your behavior and actions communicate a world of information — be clear on the messages you send when you are not speaking a word.

Check out the Center for Creative Leadership’s full article on communication and leadership.