Is communication an important aspect of leadership ?

  • leadership

I have heard many times that most leaders are good communicators. Well then why do so many leaders have their own communications people ? Why do they rely on speaker notes, teleprompters and script writers. Is there something that is missing in the analogy that communication is an effective part of leadership?

Well I can understand that a leader can’t go impromptu all the time, After all he is the legal representative of his organization and then there are legal ramifications of spoken words. All it means that he would have to prepare his notes in advance and have it validated by a legal representative from the organization.

Why do leaders need a communication person at all, should not communication be the key criteria for choosing a leader?

Looking at my experience in the last 5 years, I have seen very few leaders who are great communicators. Most of them could hold their own, and the vast majority struggled when out on the spot. Their strategy was go with notes well prepared, in advance and stick to the script. The reason they do this is that most organizations choose leaders who come up the ranks, keep their head down and work hard. They are measured on one criterion only that is financial performance. They are not rated on people skills or whether they are good communicators.

By the time they become leaders and are the official spokesperson fr their organization they have long forgotten the English lessons taught in school and hence rely on communication specialists. Now many among my fellow marketers make their living through this vocation but the strength of a true leader should be his communication, voice, vocabulary, diction, body language, facial expressions among others.

Great statesmen in the past have relied on their communication to keep nations together in troubled times. Churchill during the Battle of Britain or Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor, are good examples of leaders using their communication to give hope.

Organizations today need leadership that communicates a vision, but alas most leaders delegate that to a marketer, preferring the safety of teleprompters, speaker notes and scripts. Something to think about as we embark on a new week tomorrow. thoughts and comments welcome.


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