The Fatal Assumptions About Leadership Communication

The Fatal Assumptions About Leadership Communication

The Fatal Assumptions About Leadership Communication

“The leader speaks. Followers applaud on command. There is an illusion that communication took place, but it didn’t.”

– from The Leader’s Voice by Boyd Clarke & Ron Crossland

If you have done a workshop with me there is a good chance you have heard me speak about this book. It was referred to me by a mentor about 10 years ago and it turned out to be a book that really turned the lights on for me. So much so that I reached out to Ron Crossland personally (his co-author had sadly passed away by then) and the exchange ended up with permission from him to use the content in the book in my own training programs.

One of the concepts I have adapted originated with what Clarke & Crossland call the ‘four fatal assumptions’ of leadership communication. At the time they wrote the book, the authors were the CEO and Vice-Chair of the Tom Peters Company and between them had worked with thousands of clients in the fields of leadership, communication, and organisational change. Throughout the course of their work, they identified the communication-killing assumptions.

I am going to briefly touch on two of them…

Some leaders assume that their constituents UNDERSTAND what was communicated

Some of the reasons that understanding is often not achieved can include:

  • Assuming that a message will not alter as it filters down through the organisation
  • Information overload
  • Lots of hard data with no explanation of what it actually means
  • ‘Sugar coated’ language that doesn’t clearly articulate the facts
  • Not providing context to a message

This list could go on endlessly, but I hope you understand. Please get in touch if you don’t – I don’t want to be guilty of this assumption myself.

It’s easy to assume we have been understood, when often we haven’t. However, we are certainly surprised when we don’t get the response we were looking for.

Some leaders assume that their constituents AGREE with what was communicated

Imagine working for a leader who just assumed that you agreed with everything. You are never consulted and you don’t feel safe to put alternative ideas forward.

Clarke & Crossland don’t say which is the most lethal of the four fatal assumptions but this one would be my pick. This is the one that most quickly leads to people feeling unvalued, unappreciated and disillusioned before they become disengaged.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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Five Reasons Introverts Can Be Great Communicators & Leaders

Five Reasons Introverts Can Be Great Communicators & Leaders

Five Reasons Introverts Can Be Great Communicators & Leaders

Introverts aren’t always the shy quiet type or the shrinking violet. In fact introversion and shyness are different things that many people mistakenly think are the same.

Introverts are often quite confident but just need time and space to be at their best. Here are some traits that can put them well ahead of their extroverted counterparts.

1. A wise man speaks because he has something to say; a fool because he has to say something. – Plato

Introverts are more likely to think before they speak. In a world full of meaningless chatter, well thought out and reasoned words can have a huge impact.

2. Hold the small talk thanks

Sometimes mistaken for aloofness or arrogance, many introverts just don’t go in for superficial chit-chat much preferring meaningful conversations. They will often ask great questions and be more likely to genuinely listen to the answers.

3. Playing It Cool

In a heated situation or a crisis, an introvert will often provide a much needed level head and calm confidence.

4. Preparation is the key

Introverts are less likely to wing their way through a meeting or presentation, preparing much more thoroughly beforehand.

5. Down time

When introverts honour their natural need for time alone, this time is often when they produce their best work. A little time-out provides clarity of thought and enhances creativity.

 

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The Art of Authentic Communication (Be The Glass Goblet)

The Art of Authentic Communication (Be The Glass Goblet)

The Art of Authentic Communication (Be The Glass Goblet)

“You have two goblets before you. One is of solid gold, wrought in the most exquisite patterns. The other is of crystal-clear glass, thin as a bubble, and as transparent. Pour and drink; and according to your choice of goblet, I shall know whether or not you are a connoisseur of wine. For if you have no feelings about wine one way or the other, you will want the sensation of drinking the stuff out of a vessel that may have cost thousands of pounds; but if you are a member of that vanishing tribe, the amateurs of fine vintages, you will choose the crystal, because everything about it is calculated to reveal rather than to hide the beautiful thing which it was meant to contain.”

Back in 1932 a lady named Beatrice Warde used that metaphor in a speech to the British Typographers Guild. The speech itself debated whether design should embellish or elaborate the printed word. Over 80 years later the same metaphor can still be applied to modern forms of business communication.

These days the ’embellishments’ that business communicators use range from a tidal wave of information to overt creativity. Some modern day embellishments include:

  • Information overload designed to give the impression of knowledge.
  • The website (or other advertising) that tries too hard to be creative and ends up drowning out the message.
  • Social media gimmicks that serve no purpose other than to falsely inflate statistics.
  • Unnecessarily complicated language and buzzwords used in attempt to appear intelligent.

All of these things generally fail. Why? Because people are looking for genuine connection. They want to know what you think, what you know that affects them, and how you feel about the subject at hand – and they want it in a way they can understand.

Be more like the ‘glass goblet’ that reveals what’s inside and less like the bright shiny object that lacks real substance.

 

Contact David Wise

0427 360 293
[email protected]

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Or look up @davidwisewords on any of the above platforms

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Start your week off with some 'Wise Words'. Each Monday (except public holidays) receive some great communication and personal development tips PLUS you will be the first to receive updates on upcoming training opportunities.