Deliberate Communication for Confident Leaders

In our last post, we discussed how confident leaders understand the power of good communication. They recognize that to work collaboratively and unite their teams, mastering three essential skills is crucial: communicating deliberately, communicating interpersonally, and communicating by adding value.

Today, we’ll dive deeper into communicating deliberately.

Providing your people with the information that they need to complete their tasks and contribute to your organization requires thoughtful and appropriate communication. Assuming that people are getting the information they need—or can figure things out for themselves—yields unpleasant surprises. Information left unmanaged does irreparable harm.

Misunderstandings, confusion, misrepresentation, and assumption distort information. Without accurate and timely information, your people will end up doing the wrong things at the wrong times for the wrong reasons, notes communication expert Dean Brenner in “The True Cost of Poor Communication” (Forbes, November 2017).

When it comes to deliberate communication, there are three key components to keep in mind: clarity, specificity, and relevancy.

Clarity means ensuring that your information is easy to understand and that expectations are well-defined. Information—be it instruction, updates, plans, orders or analysis—benefits everyone only if it’s clear and concise. Set a well-defined, purposeful standard that points everyone in the right direction.

Specificity involves giving detailed and unambiguous explanations, while still keeping your audience in mind. Information should be specific enough to be understood but not over-explained or expressed condescendingly. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes to see if information makes sense and will be meaningful later.

Lastly, confident leaders must be relevant communicators, confirms Dianna Booher in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017). Give people information that pertains to them and what they’re being asked to do. Impertinent data may be interesting, but it dilutes the mission and makes staff question your priorities. Timeliness is critical, so share information as soon as your people can benefit from it. Don’t hold it to benefit yourself.

Keep in mind:

  • Forthright and truthful leaders convey information their people can count on, carrying weight and reliability. 
  • When leaders hedge or dance around a topic, people question information’s validity and their boss’s intentions. 
  • When people know their leaders have integrity, they respond commensurately. A leader’s honest communication is rewarded with attention and allegiance.

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