Friday, June 12, 2009


The Financial Times had an interesting article on leadership this week. It told the story of a relatively new CEO, altering his appearance slightly and taking an hourly job at his company's plant. By mingling with the workers on the plant floor, he found out what the employees really thought. He was surprised that the workers either didn't receive the messages being sent out to them or that they didn't understand the messages.

He took away several points that coincidentally, Gail and I drive home in our series of Leadership Workshops. Here are five of the points that the CEO and we cover.

1. Communication is for the audience, communicate on their terms. Gail has a couple of stories that set forth that communication is for the employees to understand, not for the leader just to speak or post.

2. It is not possible to over communicate. Leaders constantly communicate the same messages over and over in as many different ways at possible. One size of communication doesn't fit each member of the audience. Leaders use all the methods of communication available to them.

3. Keep the messages simple. Don't assume that everyone has the same level of understanding that you have or that you thought you had when you were in their position. Leaders don't speak down to others. But they speak in simple, logical and understandable terms.

4. Break down big challenges into manageable pieces. When faced with large problems that seem insurmountable, Leaders break the problems down to a series of smaller parts. Leaders then celebrate the small victories to build momentum to enable the team to solve the larger problem.

5. Show you care. Gail and I are big proponents of being empathetic up and down the organization. Leaders who can put themselves into the shoes of their employees and into the shoes of those they report to, are often the most secure, successful and non-confrontational leaders.

Put these five leadership tools into your repertoire and see your effectiveness improve overnight.

Cheers, Mike


  1. This article really focuses on the How being more important than the What. Many leaders know what elements to include in a strategy. They fail during execution because of How (or how little or how vaguely) they do it. Better How=Better Results.

  2. Carla, I like "better how = better results". The "How" optimizes the "What"

    Cheers, Mike