Leadership messages can be classified according to the different purposes they serve. For example, a leadership message might be a vision or mission statement, a call for transformational change, or a call to action.
Vision and mission statements focus on targets and goals. Consider a sales team leader addressing coworkers. The leader focuses on challenges ahead and what will be achieved when these challenges are met.
Calls for transformational change inform people why transformation is required. For instance, a retail business undertaking a change management process. A manager’s call for transformational change can emphasize the opportunities this change presents. It will address why this process needs to be embraced rather than feared.
Calls to action motivate people to work toward a goal. For example, as a project nears completion, the project leader may meet with the team members to ask for their support to reach the deadline.
To maintain your credibility as a leader, there are four simple rules to follow:
- be honest – foster a truthful relationship with employees
- Share good news and bad news – as it’s important to deal with bad news by confronting it
- don’t overpromise – as failure to deliver hurts credibility
- live up to your words – when you tell people you’re going to do something, do it
Key message traits
There are a number of key traits that shape leadership messages. Some of these traits will determine the message’s content, while others will influence its delivery.
Wisdom is another essential attribute for a credible business leader. A leader gains wisdom through experience and expertise. As a leader, you need wisdom when formulating your messages and deciding whether to stay the course or re-evaluate your priorities.
A leader’s general outlook will also affect any leadership message. Do you see the world more as a place of struggle or one of opportunities? Your view of the world influences whatever you’re saying to your peers. For the most part, an optimistic outlook makes successful communication more likely.
The content of your message is very important. But how you deliver the message is also vital. When it comes to delivery, the factors that count are
- demeanor – this refers to your physical characteristics as you deliver your leadership message. This can include how you move, how you stand, and how you hold your head.
- language – consider carefully how you express yourself. A leader’s language is the public face to the inner person.
- actions – your leadership message will only be truly effective if you follow your words with actions. In your message you may have made several promises. Unless these are delivered upon, your credibility will suffer.
Leadership messages must be clear, credible, and backed up by actions. Such messages can take the form of vision and mission statements. Or they can be calls for transformational change, and even calls to action. Leadership messages need to be carefully shaped.