Everyone talks about communication being a critical part of leadership, but all too often they don’t clarify what that means. When it comes to the leader of an organization, whether that is a CEO running a company or a manager leading a department, the most critical part of communication has to do with constantly reminding people what is truly important.
The best leaders understand that they are CROs (Chief Reminding Officers), and that there is no such thing as too much communication. The best organizations in the world are the ones where leaders are constantly reiterating the organization’s culture, strategy and priorities.
Why don’t all leaders do this? There are two reasons:
1. Many leaders are afraid to over-communicate.
They fear that it’s redundant, which they see as wasteful and inefficient. Or they fear that it’s going to be insulting to their audience. Great leaders must realize that no employee has ever left a company with the complaint, “that leader just communicated with me too much!” In fact, it’s not until a leader is so tired of communicating a message that employees are just starting to believe and internalize it. I like to say that you aren’t communicating enough as a leader unless your people can do a good impression of you when you’re not around.
2. Some leaders haven’t clarified what they need to be communicating.
The purpose of over-communication is not simply about volume—flooding employees with e-mail, text messages, videos or posters—it’s about getting in front of them as often as possible to intentionally remind them about what really matters. To do that, leaders must take the time to answer the six critical questions at the heart of organizational clarity (Why does the organization exist?; How do we behave?; What do we do?; How will we succeed?; What is most important—right now?; Who must do what?). The answers to those questions form the basis of almost all the substantive communication that a leader must convey.
So, whether you’re a CEO, a CFO, a CMO or just a manager, do yourself and your employees a favor and be the CRO that they, and the organization, need.
To learn more about communicating clarity, click here.