Communication—Or, “Did I really say that?”

It is somewhat ironic that leaders, who usually consider themselves outstanding communicators, are many times at the core of “communication problems” within an organization.[i]   This message is for leaders.

I’ve been taught over the years that a message must be sent several different ways before it has any chance of being received and understood throughout the organization.  For example, some people don’t like to read and have a difficult time grasping what they’ve read.  They prefer oral communication.  Some can grasp standalone concepts—others need examples or applications to make the concepts more concrete.  So, as the leader, remember that you have the full responsibility to determine how to more effectively get your message across to your audience (whether it be your bankers, your employees, your colleagues, etc.).

Typically, we want our listeners to not only understand our message but also accept and support the message as well.  Understanding comes from the head while acceptance and support come from the heart.  Speaking to both the intellect and to the emotions of your listeners could mean the difference between commitment (which is fantastic) and compliance (which, usually, is just not enough).

As leaders, we can use our communication skills to bless, to curse, to encourage, to discourage, to heal, to wound, etc.  Let’s follow the LORD’s wisdom as we communicate with others (especially when using our tongue).

Proverbs 15:1, 4 (King James Version)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (v. 1).
“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (v. 4).

Colossians 4:6
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

James 1:19, 26
“My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry” (v. 19).
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (v. 26).

Psalm 19:14
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

[i] Cottrell, D., & Harvey, E. L. (2004). Leadership courage: Leadership strategies for individual and organizational success. Dallas, TX: Walk the Talk Co.

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