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Leadership Communication - 20 January 2015

When it comes to your success as a leader, no skill is more important than communication.  Nothing else comes close.  That’s because the way you communicate influences every aspect of your leadership style.  How you coach, mentor, motivate, influence, delegate, inspire – and much more – is all dependent on how good you are at this vital skill.

And yet despite the all-important role of communication, it has been mostly neglected in empirical research on effective leadership.  Why that’s the case, no one really knows.  It’s true there have been countless studies conducted on communication in general, but very few have focused specifically on leadership communication.

Until now, in the Journal of Psychology, in which the findings of new research have taken a big step towards rectifying that anomaly.  The researchers conducted four separate studies resulting in six simple statements that give you an indication of whether you’re communicating well with your team.  The statements are:

1.     I am sensitive to the needs of others.
2.     I like devoting my time to my employees.
3.     I am content with the way my communication with my employees is going.
4.     My employees and I share an understanding of how we would like to achieve our goals.
5.     My employees and I can speak openly with one another.
6.     Especially when problems arise, we talk to one another even more intensively in order to solve the problems.

So, based upon those six statements, would you say you’re a great communicator?  Or one in need of some improvement?  It’s almost certain you said ‘yes’ to the former.  Most leaders, when asked, rate their leadership capabilities favourably.  But here’s the curious thing to note with this short instrument: it’s called The Perceived Leadership Communication Questionnaire. That key word – perceived – is the most critical of all.

You may think you’re a talented communicator.  You may even be sure of it.  But it’s common for many of us to be a tad too generous with how we evaluate our abilities.  That’s why the word ‘perceived’ is so well placed.  The only way to check that your own perception is accurate is by asking your employees for their feedback on those same six statements.

Which is why George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote is still such genius:  “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

To download complimentary e-books on employee engagement, retention, and recruitment (valued at over $100), please click here.

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