September 14, 2009

Why Leaders Need More Communication

Written By Cary Schmidt

WARNING: Failure to communicate frequently and effectively will bring distrust, tension, and grief in any valuable relationship.

A large percentage of our problems in work, family, and ministry could be attributed to communication failures—either miscommunication or a lack of communication. Everybody has people in their lives with whom they should work at communicating more effectively and more frequently. If only the people in our lives could automatically “just know” all the things they need to hear from us! How much easier would life be—right?

If you’re somewhere in the middle of the organizational flow chart, then you have the responsibility to regularly communicate “up the chain”—to someone responsible for your workflow or your projects. A failure to communicate will bring grief into your world and will cause trust, dependability, and connectedness to suffer. This responsibility to communicate falls to you (and me).

Simply put—does your leader have to PULL information out of you? Or does your leader get information PUSHED from you?

Do you have to be tracked down and asked? Or do you voluntarily generate information to someone in leadership?

Busy leaders need reliable co-laborers to generate communication—needed information—with which they can make well-informed decisions. When we fail to generate this communication (as I have many times), we inadvertently decide to withhold information that might prove valuable in the decision-making process of the leader. This isn’t good. This isn’t team. Frankly, it’s just stupid. (Yes, I’m pointing at myself.)

The question is—how much communication does your leader desire? I’ve made the grave mistake of trying to “not bother” the leader, only to find out that more communication was needed or wanted. Good leaders usually desire a lot of information from those they lead. It’s not about trust. It’s not even about accountability. It’s about leading effectively. The more informed they are, the better they can lead.

Part of the reason you are on your leader’s team is to help keep the leader well-informed in the areas where you serve. Just remember, it’s not about being “lorded over” or merely “giving account” for your work hours. It’s about building trust, reliability, and dependability. It’s about helping the leader lead well.

So—practically speaking—find out how much communication your leader desires, and then make sure that leader gets it. Make brief, informative, and thorough communication a regular part of your daily workflow.

Unfortunately, this is one lesson I’ve learned the hard way. How often over the years I have wished I had communicated more thoroughly. How often my simple lack of communication has caused grief to myself and others!

Communication is a really good thing. Hopefully this post will challenge you to push more needed information in the right direction—and for the record, this principle also works really well in marriage too!

What are some ways you have found effective in communicating?