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The Walking Leader (dot) com’s Weekly Leadership Poll Question for this week (09/29 – 10/05) is: COMMUNICATION SHOULD BE A TOP PRIORITY FOR ALL LEADERS? (click here to answer)

Communication is the only priority. When it comes to leaders becoming leaders, staying leaders, and making new leaders communication is king. By this I mean there is no other form that will convey the message and sustain the message greater than communication.

Communication in all its forms is what drives leadership.

Whether it be written or spoken, the message of the leader to her followers and the message of the followers to the leader must be clear, concise, well read, understood and can be acted upon with impunity then the conveyance of the message is success. Why with impunity?

Impunity is defined as the “exception from punishment or freedom from the injures consequences of inaction“. Thus when the message is clear, concise and understood, there should be no worries about what actions need to be taken, as there is no misunderstanding. Unfortunately, not all forms of communications are this way. Most messages are riddled with ambiguity and most of all uncertainty. It’s a miracle any work gets done at all.

So, as the leader must lead by example it falls upon the leader to deliver any message (in any format) in a manner that the message is understood and can be acted upon. It is when a leader fails to deliver that caliber of message that the followers cannot act on the message. When open ended questions are asked the answers will vary almost to the level of missing the point of the question altogether and that is when the ambiguity and the uncertainty creeps in.

It falls on the leaders, all leaders at all levels of the organization, to ensure that they work on improving their communication skills. Whether it is practicing your speeches, practicing and honing their writing skills, or creating better graphics they have the responsibility to ensure the message is understood.

Of course, there are applications and software packages that will change text or create better looking designs but where is the leader learning to improve? If the leader turns over those functions of communication to a software package and washes his hands of personally improving the content then how is that leader getting better? The leader is not getting better.

The leader got into a position of leadership begin by doing the dirty work and the leader must continue to do that to dirty work even if it means cracking open a thesaurus, every once in awhile. Therefore, the leader must do everything he or she can to improve themselves personally and professionally. If they have to give the speech how are they going to get better there are no applications for that? What there is, is standing up in front of a mirror and practicing and speech over and over again.

Because the message is so important, communication IS a Top Priority. As I mentioned, Communication is what put the leaders in that position they are now. Communicating is what will keep them there. Communicating is how they will make new future leaders. And again as always, that is nonnegotiable!

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David G. Guerra, MBA
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