A fundamental leadership function and a key characteristic of an exemplary leader is effective communication. Because effective communication and effective leadership are inextricably linked, it is a key competency that a business leader will need to be competitive in their role. This will enable them to establish numerous relationships at various organizational levels. Leaders, from workers to top-level management team members, must always be on the front lines of building stronger communities and groups. The same is expected in terms of leaving a mark on a global scale to inspire individuals to collaborate as they perform together to achieve one common desirable result.
Leaders must be able to think, express ideas, and share information with a variety of audiences in addition to being competitive communicators. They must also deal with the fast flow of information within the organization as well as between customers, partners, vendors, and other stakeholders and influencers. Leaders are positioning communication as a competitive workforce strategy in this way. (See Fig. 1)
Why Is Communication Important in Business Leadership?
Communication is more complicated than the simple mechanics of sending and receiving information — when leaders use their ability to communicate well, they can translate critical data quickly and accurately.
One of the most important skills a leader can have is communication. It takes purpose and intention to implement effective communication. Professionals must understand how and when to communicate, as well as choose the appropriate mode for their audience. Leaders must be proficient in all modes of communication, whether writing, conversing, presenting, or facilitating. It is the only way to meet people’s individual needs while also fostering important human connections.
Effective communication is more than a “two-way street.” Leaders at all levels must understand the mechanics and methodologies of sending and receiving information from all valid sources from every angle. Intellectual discourse must always be a craze in global firms, and as business leaders, they are viewed as skilled communicators who bind countless organizational relationships. Leaders should be geared toward winning everyone’s attention on a global scale, whether on a division or departmental level, in the communities that they serve and in a variety of groups, and with the rise of globalization through various media entities ranging from traditional to social media.
Leadership and communication abilities enable leaders to think, express ideas, and share information with a diverse range of audiences. They learn to deal with the constant flow of information within the organization as well as among customers, partners, and other stakeholders and influencers. The best communicators are also good listeners. Listening fosters trust, respect, and openness.
The 5 Tips for Effective Communication among leaders must include
- Communicate ceaselessly
- Simplify and be direct
- Listen and encourage input
- Illustrate through stories
- Affirm with actions
Here are the 11 Key Workplace Communication Statistics
Talking about results, Duncan (2022) highlighted in his article the common trends at the height of COVID-19 and how the world communicates during the pandemic.
In Figure 2, below are the crucial statistics on workplace communication:
- 86% of employees and executives cite the lack of effective collaboration and communication as the main cause of workplace failures.
- Improved internal communication can improve organisational productivity by as much as 25%.
- 97% of employees believe communication impacts their task efficacy daily.
- Communications barriers could be costing businesses around $37 billion a year.
- 16% of managers would prefer email interactions as they end up feeling uncomfortable.
- When employees are offered better communication technology and skills, productivity can increase by up to 30%.
- 28% of employees cite poor communication as the reason for not being able to deliver work on time.
Here are the key findings from our own May 2022 study of 125 CEOs & decision-makers.
- Slack is the most popular platform for workplace communication – used by 52% of respondents. This is followed by Zoom (47%), and Google Hangouts/Meet (26%).
- 92% saw positive benefits of flexible working options.
- 16% stated that there were negative impacts.
- 94% stated that they will continue working in a remote/hybrid way.
In leadership and communication, authenticity counts — a lot. People want, respect, and will follow authentic leadership. Another one is “visibility.” Leaders’ presence must be felt, and their availability will surely be appreciated by the organization’s stakeholder groups. The work force needs to see and feel their leaders’ sincerity for them to feel connected as valuable members of the team.
Understanding Media and Culture
Culture on the other hand, or specifically we can connect this discussion on Organizational Culture, reflects the mission and vision of an organization’s leaders and its founders. Strong cultures help companies operate efficiently and effectively because individuals and interactions are aligned with organizational values. On the other note, in firms with weak cultures and little alignment between organizational values and behaviour, culture is nothing more than a bureaucratic barrier to effectiveness.
Edgar Shein of MIT stressed that organizational culture is the pattern of shared ingrained assumptions a group forms through the process of solving problems together. Groups adopt the behaviour that have brought them success. The behaviors then become hard-wired into the DNA of the company. These cultural norms are the most difficult organizational attribute to change because culture outlives founders, the workforce, staff, services, products, and other physical attributes of an organization. Moreover, organizational culture influences our automatic and intuitive responses to everyday business situations and decisions, it powerfully impacts performance outcomes and, profitability in general.
Workplace communication is a moving target. Leaders must continue to find new ways to make their communications more effective, purposeful, and trustworthy
When your leaders develop effective communication skills, they can :
- Manage resistant audiences well.
- Listen to individuals from all levels of the organization.
- Encourage direct and open discussion.
- Initiate difficult but needed conversations.
- Understand expectations and ask good questions.
- Involve others before developing a plan of action.
Doing all of the above, through the application of media, culture and communication in organizations today, will trigger leading teams towards getting remarkable results by equipping everyone in the workforce with leadership communication skills.