“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”George Bernard Shaw
It couldn’t be put better than this. Communication and leadership go hand in hand. And the truth is that most fail.
An illusion that communication has already taken place and that there is no need to convey a message to the person is one of the biggest hurdles.
There is another quote that I love equally about communication.
“Communication is the sister of leadership.”John Adair
Well, this one is a tough realization. According to the Holmes Report, the cost of poor communication has hit a mindblowing $37 billion. Also, 400 surveyed corporations which included more than 100,000 employees in the U.S. and U.K. estimated that communication barriers can cost the average organization $62.4 million per year in lost productivity.
The same report found that leaders who possess effective communication skills produced a 47% higher return to shareholders over a five-year period.
It happens to the best of us.
I fail to communicate more often than not. I write to communicate, inform, and express. It is my job, and I fail to put down more than 10% of the content I want to in a single article. Sometimes it is too much to be on a single piece, and sometimes, it is not congruent enough to be a part of the narrative.
As Yuval Noah Harari, one of the greatest thought leaders and futurist of our time, discussed in his book Sapiens that one of the key factors which lead to homo sapiens becoming so powerful is the flexibility of its language to communicate.
There are countless words put together to address the issue of communication and its necessity in leadership by prominent publications. Go here, here and here, to find an array of instructions on how to communicate well by Forbes.
So, how to communicate well?
Apparently, it boils down to empathy!
All of the thought leadership and articles you could read will talk about empathy being the foremost requirement for a great conversation, and ultimately communicating what needs to be communicated.
There are different ways this could manifest in different situations, but the gist remains the same. Be it a person or a group during the conversation.
Find out what would be the prominent faculties that would be guiding them through work and through the tasks at hand.
Employ empathy to any communication faculty, and you would find things happening for you. Communication easing up and conversations building rhythm.
In the great words of Ram Dass, “In communications empathy knowing respect spirituality tolerance understanding. Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.”Ram Dass