TOP TIPS: Five leadership communication coaching pointers
Eliminating business jargon from leaders' communications can re-connect and re-inspire your workforce.
by Jamie Walters, president, Ivy Sea Inc.
Here are five steps to improved leadership communications:
1. Get agreement
Effective partnerships begin with clear agreement. Don’t assume — schedule a meeting with leaders, review communication’s importance in good leadership and get agreement on your role. Then do a leadership communication assessment to gauge current perceptions and issues within the organization.
2. Link leadership communication to effectiveness
Make the business case by succinctly sharing data on where it creates an edge and where its lack creates costly problems. If you can make a good case for “why,” the “how” will become much easier. At this point, there’s no shortage of compelling research or case studies.
3. Be mindful of language
The words a leader chooses affects the impact of the communication. Eliminate vapid business jargon, battlefield metaphors and violent, divisive language — it will turn off increasingly diverse audiences and foster cynicism and apathy. Stick with clear, responsible language and reconnect people with possibility and vision as well as facts.
4. Build on the leader’s own style
Given the low levels of trust in corporate leaders, an overly polished “stage presence” can bring cynicism, so beware of a “canned” and unauthentic style. Identify the leader’s inherent strengths. He or she will feel more comfortable when being themselves and will communicate more effectively.
Stick with clear, responsible language and reconnect people with possibility and vision as well as facts.
5. Maintain integrity
After waves of layoffs and leadership scandals, it’s crucial to maintain a sense of integrity. Ensure leaders’ words are congruent with their beliefs and actions. With leaders under greater scrutiny and audiences more sensitive to “being sold to,” mindful, honest communication and impeccable follow-through are more important than ever.