Being a leader and being a boss can be very different things, and knowing what you are can make or break your team's performance in the work place. But when it comes to being a good leader, communication is key.
Great leaders tell people what they’re doing and why. They are transparent about the goals and objectives of the organization and they’re willing to tell people how the company is doing against those goals. I often encourage companies that I work with to create a sales culture by publishing what the weekly, monthly or quarterly sales targets are to the broader organization and let everybody know how you’re doing against those. A team that knows where you’re winning or where you’re falling short can come up with ways to help.
Great leaders communicate early and often with boards and investors. They are clear about what is working and what is not and how the board and investors can help them.
Great leaders cultivate relationships with the press because they understand that journalists don’t want to publish press releases and by knowing you and knowing your company they can actually cover you better when you do have news.
Great leaders talk with other leaders. They open up about what their challenges are and they seek advice and input. A regular dialog with peers can be more valuable than reading any amount of tech press and in many cases more valuable than even board input. Developing trusting relationships with peers is critical.
Great leaders don’t fire people and pretend it didn’t happen or make up inauthentic excuses for it to the team while people chatter around the water cooler. Great leaders take on hard topics and sit down with the team and explain hard decisions.
And because “communications” is a two-way activity, great leaders are listeners. They are askers. They always want opinions even if they don’t necessarily agree with them or aren’t ready to act on the information they learn. Great leaders don’t need to be extroverts – many aren’t – but they need to be great communicators.