Communication – A Leader’s Trump Card

ACommunication – A Leader’s Trump Card

Communication is an area that is identified for improvement in a substantial number of performance appraisals. It is a skill that is critical yet under-developed. That is why Communication Training, which is an integral part of Soft Skills Training, is a highly sought-after program by corporates today.

Stephen Covey, in his book The 8th Habit, describes a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries. He reports the poll’s findings:

1). Only 37% said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why

2). Only 1 in 5 was enthusiastic about their team’s and their organization’s goals

3). Only 1 in 5 said they had a clear “line of sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals

4). Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals

5). Only 20% fully trusted the organization they work for”

An often-asked question is, “What constitutes good communication?”. There are many schools of thought but I would like to focus on the three critical elements identified by Aristotle – ethos, pathos and logos. Even though Aristotle emphasized it thousands of years ago, it still stands true.

Ethos is essentially your authority on the topic of communication — it is the reason why people should believe what you’re saying. This is something you earn based on your prior, repetitive performances on the subject.

Pathos refers to the emotional connection you are able to make with the audience while you are communicating — essentially, people are able to answer the question, “What is in it for me?” People see the relevance of the subject in the context of their life. This is what made Martin Luther King and Gandhi outstanding orators; they made their speeches relevant to their audience and effectively tapped into their emotions. Taking personal interest in each of your team member’s development, being passionate about your organization’s progress and recognizing people for their efforts are ways in which to enhance the pathos. Of the three dimensions, pathos has the greatest impact on the perception of people rating the leader’s effectiveness as a communicator.

But all the authority and passion will not help you if you are not able to help the people understand your reasoning. Logos refers to the appealing to others’ sense of reason. People often mistake this to mean that you need to support everything you say with facts. This is only a small part; the bigger part is the ability to make explicit the connections that they derive from the data, which strongly supports the conclusions that are being made. Hence, strategic thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills are critical skills for today’s leaders. This enables them to express logical ideas in clear and compelling enough terms to influence outcomes.

The Communication Training conducted by MMM Training Solutions, a specialist in Soft Skills Training, focuses on all three elements. They have to be well balanced in order to increase your impact as a communicator.

“When we change the way we communicate, we change society.” – Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations