“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn
Inspired leadership is aided by clarity of communication. These leaders tend to be those that are best at generating organizational and personal transformation. Clarity energizes efforts, increases problem-solving capability, and provides a foundation for employee engagement. But how can your leaders use clarity to truly inspire others, and what is its real benefit to an organization? And should your organization have a policy for communication clarity?
Show who you are as a leader
A leader cannot be all things to all people. Such leaders always get found out. If you try to say yes to all requests, your people will become confused and become unable to assimilate with your values and beliefs, because what are they?
A leader’s core values should align with those of the organization, and it’s here that many companies destroy inspired leadership with complexity. Your core values should guide your mission and the behaviors of your people. They are essential to engaging employees and customers, but if they are too complex and wordy they lose their focus. And if you have a dozen core values, which of them is really important?
Let people know what it is that you believe in, and be an example of the behaviors you expect from your reports.
Clarity is a leadership tool
A common mistake made by leaders when first discussing clarity is to assume that the practice of clarity revolves solely around communication. In fact, clarity is equally concerned with behavior in communicating.
In his book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, Patrick Lencioni writes that “a real danger, and a common one, occurs when leaders confuse their motivation for identifying their purpose with trying to come up with something that will sound impressive on a billboard, in an annual report, or on an employee sweatshirt.”
Instead of seeking to confirm positioning, needs and objectives with the latest jargon, tech-speak and management catchphrases, use clarity to define problems and solution finding.
Before it merged with Telekom Austria in 2010, Austrian telecom company Mobilkom Austria (now known as A1 Telekom Austria) put in place new standards of clarity when communicating with customers and its employees. All written communication had to be made in short sentences. Not wordy. Not jargon filled, but focused and relevant using language accessible to all.
Clarity is a business tool used not to simply disseminate information, but to inform and encourage decision-making. Inspirational leaders communicate with clarity to embed a sense of ownership, encourage engagement, and promote ideation and innovation as well as jumpstart change.
Clarity is an enabler of priorities
When a new employee starts with your organization, or an existing employee is promoted, he or she will want to know what the new role entails, what the priorities and responsibilities are, and how he or she fits into the organizational hierarchy.
Complex explanations are neither needed nor requested. Your message and the employee’s role needs to be understood from the get-go. Achieve this and you’ll improve productivity, increase morale, decrease staff turnover, and inspire others to engage with the organization, its values, and its future success.
Leadership communication with clarity
Whether communicating orally or through the written word, practice leading with a communication style that adheres to the following five elements:
- Clear, concise, and providing enough information so the recipient understands context and reason
- It has a logical flow
- Only essential factors are conveyed – no ‘white noise’
- Don’t use ambiguous wording
- Make it stimulating and meaningful
Contact Forward Focus today to discuss our Management Development Series, including our Energy Leadership Program, which helps develop high-performing managers into inspirational leaders.
P.S. Read about other tools and techniques used by inspirational leaders in our article “21st Century Leadership Strategies”.