“There will be a time when I will be President of the US and I will remember… any founder that didn’t have the capacity to understand culturally what we’re doing.” Kanye West
There’s no doubt that Kanye knows how to communicate through his music — he has numerous accolades and tens of millions of sold albums under his belt to prove it. But, Kanye might do well to learn a thing or two about communicating outside of the recording studio. But then again, what can you expect from someone who thinks that people will communicate only through eye contact and emojis in the future?
The ability to communicate with your team in a coherent, focused manner is a fundamental managerial skill. Clear, effective communication fosters relationships, facilitates innovation, sets expectations, and ensures transparency. Good communication isn’t about being the loudest voice in the room — it’s about listening to others, exchanging ideas, controlling your body language, cordiality, and a healthy dose of empathy.
“I’m sorry daytime TV, I’m sorry for the realness.” Kanye West
In 2016, Kanye gave an unforgettable guest appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. When the conversation veered towards Kanye’s difficulties raising money to fund his artistic ideas, Kanye went on a long, unbroken rant about his creative genius. A good communicator would have used the chance to address millions to send a clear, concise message with a strong call to action. Instead, Kanye’s rambling, 6.5 minute long tirade left the audience confused and Ellen speechless — something that doesn’t usually happen to the cheerful, talkative talk show hostesses.
Kanye’s communication style is definitely not an example to aspire to. Overly self-absorbed individuals have have a hard time listening to others, effectively using their body language or taking note of how their words affect those around them.
Good communication starts with listening
Great leaders know how to motivate their teams and when to give them space to grow, when to encourage, and when to push teams to their limits. But more importantly they know how to do all of this in a straightforward, authentic manner. They understand the importance of visibility and setting an example and know that listening is one of the most powerful skills in their arsenal.
But to be able to do this well, a truly great team leader must be an effective communicator. Luckily for those of us who weren’t blessed from birth with the ability to communicate effectively, this core leadership skill can be learned. Especially by looking at the good and bad communicators that surround us. Remember — sometimes you can learn more from poor examples than you can learn from good ones.
Richard Branson is an excellent communicator
“Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said—and in some cases what is not being said.” Sir Richard Branson
Good communicators know how to blend a sense of fun — when appropriate — with seriousness and action when they’re called for. Richard Branson is a perfect example of a charismatic leader who knows just how to do this. He knows how to respond quickly and communicate empathy and compassion during a crisis. A strong culture of communication can only be instilled when barriers like strict hierarchy and formality have been reduced.
One of the reasons that Richard Branson is such a good communicator is that he listens. By truly listening, leaders improve relationships and foster collaboration, and are able to solve problems more effectively simply because they have access to more information about them.
Do’s and Don’ts for Good Communication
Good communication begins with awareness. The fact that you’re reading this already shows that you know how important communication is.
- Don’t communicate like Kanye — be clear and concise in your communication style. That way, there’s less room for confusion and everyone knows what’s expected from them. Understand the importance of communication — emojis just won’t cut it if you want your team to perform at a high level. Convey respect and cordiality in everything you do — only sore losers grab the microphone away from winners during their acceptance speech.
- Communicate like Richard — keep things loose and fun when you can, and know how to be serious and take action when required. A smile and an authentic, straightforward communication style go a long way, your team will be more open when they feel comfortable in your presence. Set an example that they can aspire to and most importantly listen to your team — their input will help you solve problems and are your best chance to succeed.
Clarizen Go’s simple task management solution makes it easy for teams across the enterprise to communicate more effectively with one another. With Clarizen Go, everyone is always in the know, and last-minute surprises are minimized.