Ask a successful business leader what he or she believes is the number one key to becoming an effective leader, and you get a variety of answers that are as diverse as the leaders themselves. Yes, leaders must be able to delegate. Yes, leaders must be decisive, making hard decisions when the situation warrants. Yes, leaders must be able to effectively manage their work-life demands. All of these qualities help detemrine whether someone in a position of authority will succeed in that role.
But there is one aspect of leadership that is often overlooked by up-and-coming leaders who dream of leading everything from a mom-and-pop store to a Fortune 500 company. This quality comes naturally to some, while others must work hard at developing the skill. It's communication.
What Makes a Great Communicator?
A great communicator is one who can effectively convey information to those who can understand and act on it. To be an effective communicator, you must have healthy relationships with those you lead. The relationship is what transforms you from an authoritarian (a.k.a. a boss) to a leader. Leadership and interpersonal relationships go hand-in-hand, and you don't necessarily have to be an extrovert to succeed. You just need to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. The potential reward is huge.
1. a Great Leader Communicates Goals.
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. In business, not hitting your goals could cost your company revenue, and it may cost you your job. A successful leader will actively search for new ways to communicate goals to the people he or she leads. An expectation that is not effectively communicated to the people who are equipped to fulfill that expectation is nothing more than words, and it will result only in frustration for both the leader and those who seek direction.
2. A Great Leader Communicates Vision.
A vision is not the same as a goal. A goal is definitive. When you establish a goal for your team, they can contribute to coming up with a way of reaching that goal.
A vision is an intangible destination. Throughout history, great leaders of the past were ones that successfully communicated their visions for the future to others who were then able to work together to make that leader's desires, wishes, and expectations for the future come to pass. For example, Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, communicated his vision of a nation that experienced "a new birth of freedom," a nation that would one day be healed of the deep emotional wounds caused by the abolishment of slavery. Lincoln could not singlehandedly heal the emotional rift that existed in the hearts of many Americans, but he communicated his vision of a healed nation, which leading countrymen and women could rally behind to begin to rebuild.
3. A Great Leader Inspires Greatness.
When a great leader successfully communicates a specific goal, or implants a compelling vision in the minds of his team members, those team members will naturally absorb a certain level of passion for the future. Individually, one team member may not be able to reach the goal or fulfill the vision, but -when united - the same team members can successfully achieve levels of greatness that individual employees may never attain on their own.
Ready to become the leader you were meant to be? Want to learn more about becoming a better communicator? Contact us for more information!