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May 2010 - Leaders must be Communicators

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

May 2010

Leaders must be Communicators

Leaders simply must be able to communicate with others. Perhaps no one thing is more important for leaders to do than to communicate effectively. If you canít communicate, donít try to lead. Five areas are important.

Listening. Over half of a leaderís time communicating is spent listening. Thereís is a reason: leaders must know whatís happening and they must understand others; that is, leaders must listen to be informed and listen to understand other people. Leaders must be listeners.

Speaking. While not all successful leaders are accomplished public speakers, most of them can express ideas effectively both in front of an audience and in a small group. Increased ability to speak in front of a group increases leader effectiveness. Speaking ability is a strong correlate of leadership ability.

Nonverbal Behavior. Others gain much meaning by watching a leaderís actions and by listening to how he or she says things. The old saying, ďWhat you are speaks so loudly I canít hear what you say,Ē carries strong meaning. Our actions really do speak louder to most people than our words do. Nonverbal behavior often carries more meaning than verbal behavior.

Reading. Leaders must continue to learn. Yes, leaders learn by watching and doing, but they also learn by reading. Most effective leaders spend time reading, because they know leaders must be informed. Leaders must be readers.

Writing. Fifty years I did not write well, but I realized its importance; so, I sought help. I asked skilled writers to proofread and correct my mistakesóand I listened carefully as they explained the corrections they made. Writing effectively helped me think more clearly and in turn, helped me be a better leader. Clear writing reflects clear thinking.

Listening, speaking, nonverbal behavior, reading and writing are all critical for effective leadership. It all comes down to this: If you canít communicate, donít try to lead.
John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

December 2006 - Motivating Others: Communicate Clearly
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