“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.” – James Humes

Have we ever considered the way we communicate reflects our leadership style? The more that I am around people, the more I am trying to be observant. For anyone to do this, they must shut up and listen. We can learn a lot from doing just that.


I have three general ideas about our communication. We should strive for our leadership to equate with what we say our leadership is. To do this, we need to be conscious and intentional about how we communicate. There are three parties involved in communication: you, the other person, and bystanders. Each one of these is essential for understanding the other, and each one causes static within the conversation.

1. You
The best advice I have received on communicating was, “It’s not what you say, it is how you say it.” It has taken me a lot of years and conversations to figure this out. Good leaders are usually good communicators. If not by the way we speak, but also by our actions that speak. It is easy to spot a leader who talks out of both sides of their mouth or whose speech does not match up with their actions. Even when we have to convey bad news, there is a way to say it. Communicate with a servant heart. It benefit everyone listening.

2. The other person
Now, this is where it is hard. We have no way to control how the other person is going to perceive and receive what we say. Often, others will already have their mind made up. When this happens, it puts the speaker (you) in a no-win situation. Whatever the case may be, we must make sure that what we are saying is where we need to be with what we are conveying.

3. Bystanders
Know this; someone is always listening, intentionally or unintentionally. We are breathing social media access 24/7. It does not take what we said long to get “out there.” Regardless what the conversation was about; bystanders will interpret what they want. What we must do is to make sure our actions match our words and intentions. We cannot allow others to take our communication for what it is not (even though many will do just that).

Of the three, we can only control one. We have limited if no control of the other two. So, how should we communicate? We have to try our best to make sure what we say is effective and true. Let’s give people a reason to walk away and say something positive.  Most of all, we must do what is necessary to clear the static.


©2017 J Clay Norton

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