Primary Communication Challenge of a Leader
For a long time it was said and believed that “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” However one thing we learned this year with COVID Pandemic is that a leader does not always know the way. We also learned that people are only drawn to leaders who have a vision for people, and are able to draw clear picture on where they should go. In other words people follow leaders who can clearly communicate their vision.
Many of the leaders around the world are natural visionaries. For them, having a vision is generally not the problem. The challenge comes in communicating that vision in a way that inspires and motivates people to accomplish it. As difficult as it may be, leaders must face this challenge, because no one has ever built anything great alone.
While for many communication is defined as transfer of information from one person to another, true leaders understands that the ultimate purpose of the communication is to connect with others. Leaders understands that people responds to your vision and message depending on how connected they are to you.
I remember when I started my leadership role, I had vision for my team and I was excited for what our team could accomplish, and I would share the vision with them, I would communicate with the team but nobody was home. It took me a while to realize, that I had to first connect with them, before they could have a buy-in to what I got to share.
As taught by my mentor John C. Maxwell, I believe 3 most important factors to successfully connect with others are:
1. Connect with Yourself: You must know who you are and have confidence in yourself if you desire to connect with others.
2. Communicate with Openness and Sincerity: Legendry NFL Coach Bill Walsh observed, “Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise, and nothing is more lame than cookie-cutter compliment.” Authentic leaders connect.
3. Focus on Them, Not Yourself: Your focus has to be on others and not yourself. That is the no. 1 problem of inexperienced speakers, and it is also no. 1 problem of inexperienced leaders. You will always connect faster when your focus is not on yourself
In closing, I would encourage you to assess yourself how well do you connect with yourself and others. You can do this by asking 4 simple questions to yourself:
- How would I describe my personality?
- How well do I relate to others (1-10)?
- How well do I communicate with others (1-10)?
- How likeable I am (1-10)?
Now ask three people who know you well to answer the same question.