Most successful companies focus on grooming employees for leadership with decision-making authority and accountability, encouraging problem-solving among teams, developing critical thinking skills as well as creativity and resourcefulness, among other things. But at the root of those leadership opportunities lies two key elements that distinguish effective leaders from the masses: clear communication and the ability to create followers.
According to a recent survey, three in four employees identified effective communication as the number one leadership attribute. However, only one in three employees believe their leaders are good at communicating.
But is a lack of communication due to poor training or just poor management?
Recently, I talked with Ben Fanning at Lead the Team Podcast about the impact leaders with effective communication and persuasion skills have on innovation, and explained how the executive team at Simplus works hard to create an environment that nurtures potential leaders to expand these leadership traits by placing unconditional trust in them and by providing the resources and tools to succeed.
I’ve learned that great leadership doesn’t just happen. Although organizational and listening skills are important traits for leaders, thoughtful communication and persuasion are the foundation for moving a company toward change and growth while creating meaningful connections. Here’s how:
Do you have the ability to communicate ideas clearly and simply inciting people to not only listen, but follow your lead? If you can do that— and create followers naturally— people will rally around your ideas. Concise, and often repeated, communication is essential starting from the executive team and passing throughout the company’s infrastructure.
“Transformational leaders over communicate. They repeat the mission so often, it becomes a mantra. . . ,” said Carmine Gallo, HBR contributor and Harvard University professor. “Your mission should take center stage. Shine a spotlight on your company’s purpose across communication channels: memos, emails, presentations, social media, and marketing material. If your mission stands for something, then stand up for it.”
When I was recruited by the Simplus founders, they brought me on to essentially start a new managed services line, they were clear on their vision and expectations for this new venture. Then, it was my job to communicate my ideas in ways that aligned with the company’s goals for this new service line. In return, the executive team made sure I had the resources I needed to create strategic inroads with potential clients and coworkers.
This requires overwhelming trust and total transparency at all levels of the Simplus organization working collectively to sustain a transparent culture that helps establish boundaries and work expectations.
However, even with transparency, that doesn’t mean everybody is going to support all of my ideas. But if I believe strongly in a solution, I must be prepared to share information and thoughtful insight to support my ideas to gain trust, build a following, and potentially elevate the skill set of team members.
Sell the Solution to Gain Support
We are a service organization, so everything we do focuses on sharing solutions to benefit the client, and I’ve seen numerous potential leaders thrive in these natural environments. The obvious advantage behind great communicators with persuasive, influential appeal is to move business objectives forward. But consider the positive impact of a leader who constantly shares ideas, goals, and strategies to rally their team.
Part of “getting to the yes” is helping your teams gain a better understanding of company culture and its mission. When employees see their role in the overall success of new initiatives or closing new deals, they feel valued and motivated. And that leads to commitment. I see it affect our clients, too.
Under strong communicative leadership, our teams are focused on more than just implementing software. Instead, they are also there to collect customer feedback and help the client navigate processes and work together to design ideal Salesforce solutions and prepare their workforce for these innovations. That’s the beauty of our business consultancy model and the leadership model that guides it.
You can see the folks within a project that are natural leaders, the contributors that rise up to communicate effectively to the client. These team members take the time to explain ‘why this is happening’ creating followers on the journey to success.
Real change begins with confident leaders who can distinctly and clearly deliver ideas and information. They can also effectively read the room while doing it. Whether their leadership influences your company’s infrastructure or helps empower customers with digital transformation, I believe the two most impactful traits of effective leadership are the ability to formulate and clearly communicate ideas, and then motivate the support needed to bring those ideas to life.
If you believe, like we do, that real change is born from the ability to clearly communicate and create followers, but aren’t quite sure how to get there I encourage you to reach out. In addition to being Salesforce strategy and implementation experts, our Simplus team prides itself on helping our customers ensure platform adoption. Often this means some form of change management must take place. We regularly work with our clients to set up internal Center of Excellence’s to drive ongoing leadership and support of new systems and processes. Give us the word and we’ll work with you to do the same.