STORY/ TIM PICCIRILLO
The most effective leaders realize their ability to communicate is paramount to their success in leading people. I’ve said for years that the most important skill anyone in the workforce can have—from the laborer on the factory floor to the CEO—is the ability to communicate effectively your wants, needs, and vision in a succinct and professional manner. People skills, a compelling vision, and courage are all traits most take for granted when talking or writing about leadership. But by far the most valuable skill a leader has is his or her ability to persuade people through verbal communication.
1. Meet people where they are.
Like a salesperson who deals with a dozen different personalities every day, you’ll need to speak differently to different members of your organization. For example, if you own a chemical engineering consulting firm, you can’t communicate to engineers the same way you would to maintenance or clerical staff. Engineers think differently than other members of your organization, so an effective leader should know how to relate to all levels of employees.
2. Get to the point.
The best leaders are concise in their communications, getting right to the core of the message. Today’s hectic business environment has no time for fluff in communication. Successful leaders make their point quickly and clearly.
3. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
There’s nothing worse than a wishy-washy leader. People don’t respect someone who doesn’t walk their talk, or worse, not abide by their own directives. The most successful leaders live by what they say and do. They don’t ask employees to buy into anything they aren’t fully committed to.
The old saying of “we’re given two ears and one mouth for a reason” holds true in this case. The best leaders—like the best salespeople—listen to followers. They analyze feedback and adjust their communication, and then modify their approach to the employee depending on the feedback they receive.
The ability to communicate well will catapult a person to the top faster than any other skill. If you want to climb the ladder in your organization, make a serious study of communication in all forms.
Tim Piccirillo is a professional speaker and trainer living in Mount Dora. His website is www.timpic.com.