Communication skills are crucial in most aspects of human life, but they are particularly important in leadership positions. Especially nowadays, when communication channels are rapidly increasing and the demand for connection between a leader and their employees is dramatically high, effective leadership communication is a necessary precondition for business’s success. In order to be able to implement changes, successfully mitigate conflicts, and achieve substantial teamwork results, leaders must learn essential communication skills to have effective workplace conversations. Moreover, statistics say that the cost of miscommunication in leadership may be too high to simply ignore this topic.
Leadership communication plays a huge role in messaging a company’s culture and its core values to public. These messages are important to the key stakeholders of the company, including the employees, customers, shareholders, and media. Another important role of leadership communication is to cultivate a sense of trust in the workplace and keep employees engaged and focused in the right direction. The next function is the provision of an effective communication environment for productive teamwork and support. Finally, leadership communication is represented through four different forms of interactions, including writing, conversing, presenting, and facilitating. And for leaders, developing themselves in each of the communication types is the only way to meet people’s individual needs and enable crucial human interactions.
The Importance of Communication
Communication is a central leadership function, which means that effective workplace communication and effective leadership are closely connected. Effective leaders need to be skilled communicators, applying their skills at the organizational level, in larger communities and groups, and even on a global scale. Advanced communication skills of the leaders satisfy the need of a company to engage and motivate employees. A good communicator can inspire people and provide them with necessary emotional support during some pressuring periods. It also improves teamwork and productivity, since a well-established communication system helps everyone to understand their role in the task and perform more effectively. Proper communication allows to deliver a company’s mission, vision, and values clearly and passionately to the public and is essential during crisis management.
Being honest with all stakeholders, including employees and the public, is crucial for maintaining a reputation as a reliable person or an organization. Next, for leaders, being simple and precise in their communication is always better than being complicated and confusing, which is especially relevant nowadays, when the time has become a precious commodity. At the same time, it is crucial not to focus on surface-level of things. It means to be able to gather situational and contextual clues to paint a bigger picture for every kind of issue. Another valuable practice is keeping an open mind. It means to be willing to face challenges, hear alternative opinions, and discuss confronting business perspectives. Finally, one of the most important communication practices is listening. Communication is not limited to only delivering a message, but it also includes receiving information. At times, the best way to resolve a conflict, or find a solution to a problem is to sincerely listen to those involved.
Conclusion: The Cost of Bad Leadership Communication
I will conclude with some evidence from employees’ reports provided by a study in 2018.
- 52% of workers said that poor communication leads to higher levels of stress.
- 44% of employees reported that miscommunication causes failure in completing their projects.
- 31% of employees said bad communication causes them to miss their performance objectives.
- 20% of employees stated that poor communicative work environments create obstacles in innovation.
- 18% of employees report that poor communication leads to an increase in the losses of new sales opportunities.
So, it becomes obvious that communication lies in the foundation of leadership and poor communication costs too much to be simply ignored.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (2018). Communication barriers in the modern workplace. Web.
Center for Creative Leadership (n.d.). Why communication is so important for leaders. Web.
Johnson, C. E., Hackman, M. Z. (2018). Leadership: A communication perspective. Waveland Press.