Leaders Communicate Differently Than Divas and Deadbeats

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Jul 21, 2020
This article is part of a series called HR Communication Corner.

HR professionals talk often about data and metrics. They encourage managers to establish and communicate KPIs and insist their training specialists pay attention to course evaluations. All good. 

But some roles and activities defy measurement. Leadership falls into that category. If you doubt that, look at our political situation. Half the country praises Don, Darla, or Deepak as a great leader while trashing Symone, Sid, or Sarah. The other half of the country holds the opposite opinions about the same politicians or executives.

As with many things, leadership rests in the eyes of the beholder based on the communication they hear — or don’t hear. More specifically…

15 Ways Leaders Communicate Differently Than Divas and Deadbeats

  1. Leaders understand that influence is not about what they say but what listeners hear. Divas and deadbeats insist that listeners hear what they say. 
  2. Leaders decide the budget and let the chef select the food. That concept applies to all leaders in all roles in all industries. Divas and deadbeats refuse to delegate — anything at any time. 
  3. Leaders stand steady at the helm when the ship’s in a storm — be it a competitive storm, an economic meltdown, or a natural disaster. They communicate consistently, clearly, and compellingly. Divas and deadbeats communicate sporadically, rashly, and harshly. 
  4. Leaders aim to break the complex down to the simple and communicate it concisely and clearly. Divas and deadbeats justify their roles by turning the simple into the complex and communicating it with jargon.
  5. Leaders understand that they must sell — not shove — their ideas to get others aboard. Divas and deadbeats command and demand. 
  6. Leaders communicate trust in their clients, coworkers, and subordinates. Divas and deadbeats suspect ill will from others.
  7. Leaders do the right things. Divas and deadbeats do the required things. 
  8. Leaders who communicate well become their team’s laboratory for life. Divas and deadbeats mentor no one.  
  9. Leaders communicate why to do things. Divas and deadbeats communicate how to do things. 
  10. Leaders communicate directly, frequently, tactfully, and compassionately. Divas and deadbeats hint, gossip, blurt, and bruise.
  11. Leaders reveal their reasoning behind decisions. Divas and deadbeats give directives without explanation.
  12. Leaders communicate their goals — along with their failures and lessons learned. Divas and deadbeats set few goals and ignore or hide failures.
  13. Leaders consider context and timing when they shape a sensitive message.
    Divas and deadbeats deliver sensitive messages when they feel like it.
  14. Leaders focus on the “little things” that touch people emotionally and win their hearts for the mission. Divas and deadbeats ignore the “little things” as a waste of time.
  15. No matter how smart leaders start, there’s always room to learn, grow, and improve. Divas and deadbeats “know what they know” and have little desire to hear more.

Leading HR professionals frequently reflect and evaluate how their communication measures up. Divas and deadbeats, well…(reread). 

This article is part of a series called HR Communication Corner.