Excellent leadership is a multi-faceted skill set that is required for the success of any organization. So, of course, there would be many skills necessary for a person to achieve a high level of leadership. Such as competence, decisiveness, visionary, trustworthy, positive attitude, honest, inspiring, intelligent, enthusiastic, accountable, fair-minded, and appreciative. The one skill at the top of that long list: Effective Communication.
Why do you think this is true? Well, here are the reasons.
An effective leader must have a strategic vision for his or her business and it should incorporate their core values and goals for the business. However, in order to attract the right people for the business, the leader must be able to clearly and honestly articulate that vision to others. In other words, they must be able to communicate with clarity, honesty, impact, and influence if they want to get their message across and begin to build the internal architecture of their organization. In addition, prospective employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and even customers will need to be aligned with this vision as it will define the brand to be established.
We all know that people do business with those they know and trust, so if your business is going to be successful you need to gain the trust and respect of both your employees and your customers. Employees who feel supported, encouraged, and appreciated are more likely to be efficient, productive, creative and with you for a long time.
It is up to the executive team, led by the leader, to “walk the walk” not just, “talk the talk” and model the behavior expected within, which would be toward the employees and without, which would be toward customers and others, that will exemplify the core values of the company.
In addition, most leaders also assume the role of coach to many employees so again they will need to be able to clearly give directions and instructions on what they expect from their people. If they are not capable of doing that, there will be lots of conflict, miscommunication, confusion, disappointment, resentment, and complaining. All of which cause stress. Stressed out people find it difficult to focus so more mistakes will be made, they usually get sick more often, which puts more pressure on their colleagues, they can be short-tempered, experience skewed perceptions, feel tired, and experience lower performance levels. A clear description of the roles and responsibilities, as well as expectations, are certainly key to the success of any employee, however many businesses do not take the time or make the effort to ensure that this is done, leaving new hires not sure what is expected of them or exactly how to do their job. This can just set up a person to fail and why would anyone want to do that?
This all boils down to effective communication and it certainly is the responsibility of the leader to make sure that his/her people are clear on their role within the organization so that they can do their job well and will confidence.
Great leaders provide opportunities for their people. They recognize their potential and help them to fulfill it. They can only do this if they know how to mentor well, how to delegate appropriately and all of those require effective, clear, impactful, and influential communication skills.
In short, excellent leadership hinges on many attributes, however, the most important skill is Effective Communication.