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April 8, 2020

Everything Leaders Do (or Don't Do) Communicates Something


There are very few things in this world that are neutral. Consider a gift that with special wrapping paper or bows – it says something about the thought, the meaning and the care in that present. It communicates something different than a brown paper grocery bag stapled shut.

Similarly, everything you do, and everything you say, communicates. And, importantly, everything you don’t do, and everything you don’t say, communicates.

It’s a reality for everyone in business and life. Yet being a leader, it’s critical because all eyes are on you.

Your employees, your leadership peers and everyone else read into your actions. Who do you talk to regularly? Who don’t you? Did you seem distracted in that meeting? How do you spend your time? Your actions are interpreted by others based on their own perceptions, experiences and biases.

You can’t not communicate. So, shouldn’t you get better at it?

The Business of Communication

In business, the leaders that understand their success often rests on their ability to communicate are those best able to get employees focused and moving in the right direction, to build engagement and motivation, to get teams moving more quickly, and to generate consistent, successful results from their reports.

They generate business results by communicating strategically and they do it well – they are what I call Leader-Communicators.

Real communication, with real meaning, can be a difference maker for leaders. With it, you can build understanding and increase efficiency. You can acknowledge people for their good work and make them feel energized. You can help an individual through a rough spot or lead an entire organization through change. You can inspire confidence in team members and offer advice – strengthening the work of an individual contributor, and your entire team.

With communication, you can spur success in your company, and you can build a legacy by developing a new strategic direction.

Communication can set you apart from everyone else – it’s a bona fide superpower in today’s business world.                           

Becoming a Communication “Superhero”

So, how can you get this superpower? Despite how difficult it seems to communicate at times, and how much easier it might seem to say nothing and move along (Warning! Remember not communicating actually is communicating), becoming a communication superhero is easier that you might think.

As with anything though, perfect practice makes perfect. Greats like Picasso, Michael Jordan, the Beatles and Wayne Gretzky all spent years learning, practicing and honing their skills. They didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be great. The best business leaders do the same thing – learning about new ways to tackle issues, reading about the lessons of others and continually improving. Great speakers learn the basics, and practice in front of mirrors and friends before moving crowds with their words.

Have faith. With practice, I know you can be a communication superhero.

So, now that you know you can’t not communicate, take a step back.

What is it you’re actually communicating today? What’s the first step you can take right now to improve the way you communicate?

David Grossman

To help leaders and communicators lead and communicate with employees during COVID-19, we've developed a resource page of tips and strategies that we're updating regularly. Click below to get the resources:

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