“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Communication Overview

Leaders must be effective communicators. The leader must be adept at verbal communication, written communication and listening skills. Leaders communicate more than any other action they take and much depends on the effectiveness of their communication. Leaders also make presentations to team members and possibly customers, so they need to know how to prepare and deliver effective presentations.

Why Communication is Important to a Leader

Much of a leader’s time and responsibility is communication. Effective communication is important in seeking information to solve problems, communicating changes, giving feedback, listening to team members, and many other situations. For example, leaders should communicate with customers to learn of any problems or to seek feedback. It is just as important to demonstrate that you are listening to the customer, as it is to ask for the information. If there is one competency that the leader must continually focus on developing, it is communication skills and behaviors.

Benefits for the Leader

A leader who communicates well gains credibility and the loyalty from team members and peers. If a leader listens well, they can make better decisions and consider all the options for problem solving. Communication requires attention and time to develop, but the benefits are many. Followers are loyal to leaders who communicate effectively, often, and sincerely.

Top 3 Coaches Recommendations for Communication
  1. After a conversation with a trusted colleague, ask them what indicators you gave that demonstrated to them that you were listening. If you do this with a few colleagues, what patterns exist that indicates how you demonstrate you are listening?
  2. Take steps to understand where your weaknesses in written communications are and how you can improve. One way is to show a sample of your writing to someone who is a good writer or a writing instructor. Have them evaluate your writing and give you tips on how to improve.
  3. It will help you to have an objective critique of a presentation you are delivering. Arrange for a trusted, objective team member to evaluate your next presentation. Have them evaluate your materials, structure of the presentation and you delivery style. From this critique, develop a plan to improve.
Measure and Improve Your Communication Skills

Be determined to improve your communication skills and behaviors. Take the short self-assessment on this page to identify where to improve your skills and behaviors. Then, get more coaches’ recommendations in Chapter 28 of The Leadership Compass: Mapping Your Leadership Direction to help you renew in this important competency.

Related Competencies:



Measure your communication skills and behaviors!

Select your level of agreement with each statement in the self-assessment.
When answering the questions, consider how others might evaluate your communication.


Recommended Communication Books:

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