The Leadership Communication Opportunity

Paul Kelly - July 29, 2019

The Leadership Communication Opportunity


While the value of effective leadership communication is recognised by most, the size of the value opportunity is grossly underestimated.

In a recently released whitepaper by the Australian Institute of Management, effective communication is nominated by survey respondents as the most important leadership skill.

While this is a useful observation, perhaps even more critical is an examination of the gap between leaders’ recognition of this opportunity and their ability to capitalise on it.

Many leaders simply fail to recognise the upside in their own communication development.

While most leaders possess a strong intellectual capability and appreciation of communication principles, many are unable to successfully execute these principles in a range of critical situations including:

  • Major pitches, interviews or results releases,
  • Board presentations;
  • Joint venture negotiations;
  • Government inquiries;
  • Staff briefings, and
  • Difficult or sensitive conversations.

Common leadership communication errors include:

  • Recognising yet not applying key principles or approaches;
  • Failing to listen in key conversations;
  • Ignoring broader stakeholder perspectives;
  • Believing that “knowing” it translates to being able to communicate effectively;
  • Under-preparing effectively, and
  • Believing the filtered views of internal managers – often about their own capability.

The value of great leadership communication cannot be overstated including that relating to deep engagement, discretionary team effort, deeper alignment on strategy, more credible shareholder communication, greater confidence of the Board and continued personal career advancement.

If leaders really recognised the multiple levels of advantage that great communication delivered, they would drive consistent and continuous improvement in this most valued area for the remainder of their careers.