If you're on this site, you probably are open to personal development. After all, this is a personal development site for those who are, or want to be, great leaders. So you may ask yourself the question, "if I had to focus on one skill to develop, what would that be?"
While there's a vast amount of skills to develop in order to achieve all star leadership status, if we had to put all our eggs into one basket of skill it'd have to be communication. We are now going to drop 3 truth bombs to explain why we think this.
1) If you can't effectively communicate your vision, you're doomed to fail. There's a Murphy's Law that states, "anything that can be misunderstood, will be." It's almost funny how true this rings. The members on your team, no matter what type of personalities they possess, generally want to do well. People for the most part aren't actively seeking to watch the world burn. What we've found is that people will do what you've asked... actually they'll do what they think you've asked. The inability for a leader to transfer their vision onto their team is the #1 reason why that team will not achieve the desired outcome. Think of it like a house; if the walls are the respective outputs of the members of the team, and the roof is the results, the foundation is the team's understanding of your vision. If you haven't communicated your vision or intent correctly, the walls will be skewed, or misaligned and your roof will collapse, or just not be able to be built in the first place. Your team will act on what they perceive is your intent, which may be way off from what your intent actually is. Thus, your communication skills better be damn good. Truth bomb 1, away.
2) If your team's communication game is tight, your team will run tight. Imagine this: you're able to effectively communicate your plan, your team totally grasps what you're saying and understands your intent. They, being the smart people they are, see a hole in your plan or something that needs adjustment. They then professionally and constructively point this out to you in a way that is non-threatening (ego wise, not physically wise) because they too can communicate very well. You understand what they're saying and agree on their point because the correction they're advising you on will help you achieve your end state in a better way. Now your plan is solid, your team gets the job done more efficiently, the members on your team feel significant, and from the outside, you and your team look like rock stars. Strong communication skills and a strong communication infrastructure (this means the ability for all members to communicate) for all members of your team will do a few things: it will allow the timely and accurate flow of information, it will ensure every member of the team can be heard (the leader isn’t the only one who has ideas) and it will facilitate the motivation of individuals as well as induce good team cohesion. The ability for your team to communicate openly and effectively will greatly increase the success rate of your team. Truth bomb 2, away.
3) And finally, we are going to give our final pitch as to why communication is your single most important skill by looking at what a lack of communication could do. Almost every problem in your organization can be linked right back to poor communication somewhere along the line. Whether it was a missed deadline, an opportunity missed or a ball that had been completely dropped, poor communication was most likely to blame. Poor communication has cost lives in war, cost money in business and cost jobs in industry. Poor communication in your organization will cost you and your team dearly and has the highest potential to cause failure, more than any other personal skill. Truth bomb 3, away.
We are going to make an assumption here and say that you are now convinced.
So if this is the most important skill, it's time to develop it. This isn't going to be easy, good communication skills need to be learned, practiced and integrated into the fabric of how you and your team interacts. You, as the leader, are solely responsible in ensuring that you are communicating effectively with your team and that your team is communicating effectively with each other and you.
For more information on how to train on your communication, visit www.leaderschool.ca and ask about our team building and communication enhancing training program.