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The Two Most Important Communication Skills for Leaders

Think for a moment about the power of having every person in your business feeling valued and like they are personally contributing to your success. How would that impact the work that you do and the trajectory of the organization? By honing these two communications skills, you will simplify your role and advance your business:

  1. Articulating the vision and values you have for your business, or the mission and values of your organization.

  2. Listening to understand.

While this may sound simple, it’s absolutely not easy. Mastering these skills requires thoughtfulness and practice.

For the first skill, articulating your vision/mission and values, you must first be crystal clear about what they are. You need to clearly know where you want your business to be in 10 years, 3 years, and next year at this time. You need to know where you want your revenue and profit to be, the strategies for getting there, your values for doing business, and what you want to be known for. You need to know your target market, what you will uniquely deliver to them, and how you’re going to do it.

Once you have clarity about the future of your business, you need to talk about it. Every. Chance. You. Get. The vision/mission must be the focus of your speaking points at every team meeting, all-staff meeting, retreat, annual meeting and one-on-one discussion. Part of your articulation needs to be connecting each and every person and their role in the business to the vision/mission. Every employee and volunteer needs to understand how the work they do – every day – helps the company reach your vision or the organization fulfill the mission.

The second, and equally important, communication skill is listening to understand. Not just listening, but listening to understand. This is not a new concept, but it remains an underdeveloped skill.

The most valuable resource in almost any business or nonprofit is their people. Having committed, reliable, and passionate employees or volunteers is key to delivering quality products or services. The most effective way to help a team member feel valued is to listen to them. Listen to understand who they are as a person. Listen to understand why they work for you. Listen to understand their ideas and methodologies. Listen to understand their successes. Listen to understand their challenges. Listen. Listen. Listen. By listening deeply, and resisting the urge to dominate conversations, you develop genuine, trusting relationships and committed team members.
Again, these are simple skills that require thoughtfulness and practice to master. The next couple of blogs will dive deeper into each of these skills. If you need help clarifying and articulating your vision, or if you would like to practice your mindful listening, I would love to help! Email me at

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