Leadership Traits – Ability to Communicate

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.

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