Monday, June 1, 2009


Communication & collaboration is the 3rd of the 5 C's of Leadership.

Communication is a key element of strong leadership and must be:
  • Candid
  • Authentic
  • Empathetic
  • Two way
  • Always about the listener/receiver, not about the speaker
Communication is the way in which a leader shares their ideas in order to align the team and motivate followers. But it is also the way in which the leader learns what is going on in the organization which is why it must be a two way communication process. Many leaders do not realize that people do not feel free to challenge them or bring up bold new ideas. It is the leader's responsibility to create an atmosphere in which people know they can and should speak up and share their thoughts. This can only happen if the leader is genuinely interested in their ideas. If the leader is a person that is interested in learning and in other people, this will come naturally. The leader also needs to strive to get diverse points of view so the issues can be fully vetted before decisions are made. Good leaders talk straight and honest with people. Mike and I spend time in our workshops discussing authenticity. We all need to be ourselves. Leadership development is not about becoming someone else but rather about becoming the best version of you that you can become.

But most importantly, communication is about the audience. It is easy to fall in the trap of communicating what you want to say in a manner that means something to you as the leader. More importantly, the leader needs to stand back and ask themselves, what is the current mindset of this audience? What do they care about? What are they worried about? Once you honestly assess the current mindset of the audience, you then need to ask yourself where do you want them to be when you are finished with this communication. At this point, and only, this point, can you address what needs to be communicated and how to get them there. Always remember, it is not about you, it is about them.

Collaboration is another key element. This can be collaboration with the audience, your clients, other stakeholders, other groups in your organization. No group or individual is an island. We get things done well only with and through others.

Leaders need to persuade people to change, to see the possibilities, to work hard to achieve a goal and to achieve what they may have thought was not possible. Therefore communication and collaboration skills are one of the critical 5 C's of Leadership.

Until Next Time,

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