Why Leaders Need to Communicate

As a leader, you guide and move others toward your vision of a common goal. Getting people going in the right direction may involve many types of communication. But of all the messages leaders send, communicating the vision is one of the most important ones. Affirming and promoting the future vision lets people know where the organization is headed and what it stands for.

Leaders visualize an ideal organizational future they want to achieve, and people follow leaders because of the vision. So, being skilled at communicating a compelling vision and a clear sense of purpose will increase your effectiveness as a leader. Good vision communication has the following important characteristics and results

  • it’s persuasive, credible, and strikes a chord in people
  • it points the way by identifying purpose and direction, allowing people to align their efforts toward a common goal
  • it builds loyalty by involving employees actively in the vision
  • it sets a worthy goal that reflects ideals, and demands high standards of excellence
  • it inspires enthusiasm and encourages commitment by presenting goals as achievable
  • it fosters courage and confidence by assuring people they’re on the right track and goals are achievable, and
  • it reflects the organization’s character by focusing on its strengths and beliefs, such as integrity, ethics, or service

Your company’s vision statement should tell people three things about your organization.

  • Your organization’s core values are eternal and unchanging. They describe who the business is deep down inside. Without these values, your organization wouldn’t exist as you know it.
  • Your organization’s core purpose is its reason for existence. Naturally, most businesses exist to make money, but there’s usually a more inspiring reason for driving business success as well.
  • A vision statement should also indicate your organization’s direction, where it’s going in the long run, and what its hopes are for the future. A vision statement must be tied to the values that already exist and are central to your organization.

To successfully craft and communicate your vision, you must be able to articulate your organization’s core values. Communicating vision is central to what it means to be a leader. As a leader, you have somewhere you want your organization to go – an idealized future vision.

Effective leaders know how to

  • create a compelling vision
  • put that vision into words for others
  • make their vision a reality, and
  • ensure lasting change

You translate vision to reality by shaping the organizational conversation. You guide its direction, helping to focus on planning, projects, resources, and meetings on the issues that will move the vision forward. This ensures that the quality of the dialog remains high. Because it’s vital to realizing the vision, you must understand how to use the organizational conversation to get desired results.

The ultimate goal of communicating a vision is to establish a sense of shared vision across the enterprise. The purpose, values, and direction defined by the vision should infiltrate all areas of the organization. Although acknowledging and comprehending a vision statement is a vital first step, as a leader, you must also successfully communicate the vision.

Approaches to communication

Leaders are usually effective communicators by nature. When communicating the vision, certain actions and traits can keep you from connecting with your followers

  • form not substance – Rather than spending their time transmitting vital information, some leaders have a tendency to mistake form, style, dazzle, and lavish presentation for substance.
  • underestimate the audience – Leaders sometimes underestimate their audience, either in terms of intelligence, interest level, or the degree to which they can be trusted with information.
  • controlling communicators – Some leaders can be controlling, one-way communicators. This type of leader tends to be arrogant and patronizing, and overall, is less likely to motivate others.
  • obsessed with their message – Some leaders tend to talk to others in a self-centered way, focusing on themselves and their own interests. They can be so obsessed with their message that they forget to concentrate on persuading their audience.
  • lack of authenticity – Leaders’ actions need to match their message. This is often referred to as “walking the talk.” When there’s a disconnect between behavior and message, followers perceive this as a lack of authenticity.

Here are the types of things your employees want from you as a leader

  • Employees want to be kept up to date. They want to hear both the good and the bad news as it happens. And they want to hear from their leaders face-to-face.
  • They want to be told more. They rarely get enough straight information from leaders about organizational plans and goals.
  • They value leaders who “walk the talk,” which means being genuine in your enthusiasm for the vision and ensuring your actions reflect what your words are saying.
  • Employees want to be heard. They want leaders to listen when feedback is given and to acknowledge their input. When input is given, employees want it to be acknowledged.

Creating and communicating a strong vision is one of the most important functions a leader can perform. Because people rally around leaders with a compelling vision, effective visual communication is important for guiding the actions, behavior, and culture of an organization.


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