There is no doubt that one of the most important duties of executive leadership is communication. Every organization must ensure executive leadership development of communication skills. A leader has to be able to fully understand the message he needs to communicate, be able to communicate it accurately and be able to understand the feedback from employees.
Turning a thought into a sentence, sending it to another person in a form that ensures that the second person can turn the message into the original thought, is a daunting task when you consider how many times a day it must be accomplished. When training for executive leadership development, an organization has to be aware of the many ways a thought can go astray.
In a leader’s social life, he chooses to be around people who speak and understand in the same way that he does. In his business life, he has no choice of which people he will speak with. Jokes, facial expressions, irony, sarcasm, idiom all can be used to communicate ideas accurately. However, any of those can be a barrier.
Culture creates a context for the message. When people of different backgrounds communicate, they must stick to simple, direct language and allow for questions. Culture can include ethnic background, education, gender and age. Any parent of a teenager can testify that sharing DNA, hometown, school and vacations doesn’t guarantee good communication. Executive leadership development has to include understanding how to communicate outside of one’s own narrow culture.
The environment may present barriers to communication. Speaking in a loud environment, emailing a complicated message, telephoning during a busy time can all result in garbled messages. Expectations can get in the way of communication.
Preconceived notions of the person you are speaking with can change your perception of the message. You may not question communication from your boss’s boss even if you’re not sure of what he said. You may take lightly what is said by an “inferior” person. Your definition of “inferior” may be out of date. Executive leadership development training has to deal with perception.
Stress can mangle a message. You may remember the difference in receiving information from a professor during a regular class and receiving the same information just before an exam. Executive leadership development training should include lessons in awareness of a person’s stress levels and ways to avoid causing stress in the process of being a community.