The ability to communicate gives the prospective leader a chance to impart information, influence others, and direct to action. Without this ability, a leader’s overall effectiveness is diminished.
Let’s identify the reasons why this trait is so critical to a leader’s success.
First, let’s quickly review the twelve leadership traits: Ability to Communicate; Courage; Integrity; Discipline; Fairness; Unselfishness; Dependability; Vision; Assertiveness; Professional Competence; Judgment; and Creativity.
Good communication skills are more important than ever. Those who possess the ability to communicate skillfully and effectively are greatly needed in a world that is dynamic and changing, challenging and unpredictable, and often confusing and dangerous. Communication skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening are essential for a leader who wants to move his/her organization through the fierce, global competition that has become the norm.
Why, then, the importance of communication ability in a leader? Here are several reasons:
• Inform. One of the primary functions of communication in business is to provide information. Whether the information concerns products, plans, or policies, a leader’s need to inform a diverse audience of employees, customers, and stockholders is crucial.
• Educate. Education is an ongoing communication process, so a leader who spends considerable time and capital in educating employees about plans, processes, and policies is a leader who is serious about success.
• Clarify. Leaders are routinely required to communicate clarifying information that amends, rescinds, or elucidates previous information that had been provided to audiences either within or outside the company, or both.
• Persuade. A leader who has the ability to communicate persuasively has a significant advantage over others not nearly as skillful. Persuasion should lead to desirable action; action should lead to results. Note that the ability to persuade is far more than spin control or other superficial attempts at deflection or avoidance.
• Motivate. An inspirational leader can motivate employees with his/her words and actions; that same leader can motivate customers and clients into taking action on proposals, products, or services.
Communication is a perishable skill, so the leader must maintain proficiency with diligent practice. Can an impressive ability to communicate be a differentiator for the prospective leader among his/her peers? Yes, absolutely! A leader can create great plans for an organization, but without the ability to inform, educate, clarify, persuade, or motivate, those plans will likely not reach maximum effectiveness.