Communication and Leadership
Communication is not a soft skill! You can draw a straight line from how a company, organization, or individual communicates to its bottom line results.
So it’s always surprising to me when I see articles or blog posts about leadership and the word “communication” is rarely used.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Julie Miller, author of Secrets of Self-Starters said in a recent speech there were approximately 12 billion articles, posts, tweets, etc. in the last year on the subject of leadership.
In preparing to write this first post I did a random, non-scientific sampling of the daily articles and blogs that I receive each week. Nearly every email rundown has an article or posting about leadership. Of the four articles I read this week, the word “communication” was mentioned just once, by Molly Owens, contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. It was in the context of the “4 Personality Traits that Make You an Effective Leader.” Under the second trait, “Openness,” she mentions research by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman who say leaders “create a culture that magnifies upward communication…”
But how do you create that culture? When we say we want leaders we can trust, or who exhibit empathy, or make decisions with confidence, how do we know or see those characteristics are present?
I think it starts with communication in word and in deed. And until we stop thinking about communication as one of the “soft skills” and see how it affects results, leadership will remain this mysterious quality so many people are seeking.