Communication is the Oxygen of Leadership (Part 3 of 3)

Winston Churchill

Continued from last week, here is the conclusion of our review of the 12 great principles of communication…

Winston Churchill was a great leader and a great communicator. He was a man fit for his time. Some called him “the voice of England” because he could communicate in such a way that it captured the hearts and minds of the people and their dreams. The following quotes illustrate this:

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival….

Never, never, never give up!

Winston Churchill was amazing at knowing the needs of his audience, living his own message, and painting a vision that moved people forward with hope and anticipation.

    1. Focus your attention on the audience. Effective communicators focus their attention on the person (or people) with whom they are communicating. They know it is impossible to effectively communicate to a person or audience without knowing them.
    2. Live your message. Credibility precedes great communication. There are two ways to convey credibility to your audience. First, believe in what you say. Second, live what you say. There is no greater credibility than conviction in action.
    3. Have a meaningful vision and mission and reinforce it in everything you do. Most vision statements could be randomly interchanged and no one would know the difference. If you asked your employees to explain what the vision is for their organization could they tell you? People whose companies have a compelling and meaningful purpose and direction engage their employees’ hearts as well as their heads. The beauty of a clear, well-understood vision is that every employee can use it to guide their choices – where to invest their time, energy and resources.

Great communicators tend to be excellent leaders. They are easier to follow – people know where they are going, why they want to get there and what they have to do to move toward the goal. It sounds so simple; you would think every leader would just automatically be aware of the power of transparent, intentional communication. But they aren’t. Here are a few things to consider, if you are a leader who wants to lead with more clarity:

How are you doing when it comes to communication? Are you well connected to all your teammates? Have you neglected some people or excluded them from your circle of communications? Or have you isolated yourself from others for the sake of being more productive? You may accomplish more individual goals that way, but your team will be less effective. How about accessibility? Can members of your team get to you? Do you follow the twenty-four hour rule? Anytime you are not communicating well with your team members, the team suffers.

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