Clear Communication – Leadership by Example

Explicit communication vs Implicit communication, Change, Be present, Public Speaking

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.

— General Colin Powell

The best leaders can communicate what they want and why.  The worst expect you to read the signs. Reading the signs is sadly very common, it is more common with male managers.

Communication is often the basis of any healthy relationship, including the one between an employee and his or her manager. Alex Pentland (MIT) showed that the more cohesive and communicative a team is – the more they chat and gossip – the more they get done.

The meanings of your words

Do you call your people resources? Why are they just a cog to be replaced? Or is it a word  that we use to make easy to abstract from the human. Consider the words and their impact.  Than consider the different cultures in the room and how you are effecting them.


What are the three things you need to say and repeat and repeat with examples. make your point, make it again in a different way and than embed. Should I say it again?

Public Speaking

To be an effective leader you will need to do this a lot.  The good news is this a learned skill and you will get better at it. Involving others in your speech or deck writing is a great way to seek advice and help other understanding your thinking. And they will sometimes give you great advice.

Speaking on the spot

There will often be moments where you have to just speak, rally the troops.. It happens a lot to a leader and not under the best of circumstances. First pausing to think is great it adds gravity to your words.  If you find this difficult, may I suggest taking Improv classes  (Second City is a great school if there is one close to you) these will help in many ways, but especially for this.

Alignment and the purpose bigger than me..

In all your communications show how my job, the thing you are talking about connects to the vision, the Business Goals, etc. Show alignment in all these things.

People do not all listen the same way!

In the book When Cultures Collide it attempts to show how different people from different counties communicate and listen and resolve decisions in different ways.  The same could be said of sub cultures within those countries.


Thoughts on Clear Communication:

  1. Are you talking more than listening? Maybe shut up and lets others do the talking?
  2. Who knows what your plan is?
  3. Who are your stakeholders?
  4. Are you clear about what you want your reports to do and not do?
  5. How good are you at giving feedback?
  6. Does your report know what you appreciate about them?
  7. How clear are you? Ask others
  8. Are you present? When people are speaking to you, should you take a break?
  9. When you are receiving difficult communication do you write notes, to help you process later?

Resources for Clear Communication:

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