By Tom Davidson
To win the battle for believability, successful leaders do the following ‘chemical reactions’ so that their communications are taken seriously:
Great orators are often credited with being great communicators (i.e., Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton), but speaking skills are not the same as communication skills. Everyday leaders also need to earn credibility, a much more difficult – and important outcome. As a result, the idea of being credible is the subject of this blog series.
We’re using the analogy of fire to make the point that credible communication takes four factors; without one, credibility and communication suffers. Here are the four factors you need in the battle for believability:
– Heat – Being first with the message
– Fuel – Being honest in the content
– Oxygen – Being personal in the delivery
– Chemical Reaction – Being connected with your audience
Today’s topic is the “chemical reaction,” or “being connected.”
Chemical Reaction – Being connected with your audience
Every leader generates certain chemistry with their team or stakeholders. On one end of the spectrum is the disconnected leader who feels like a figurehead to followers, not a real person. Such leaders lack chemistry because they are distant, unknown or aloof. On the other end of the spectrum is the leader who has a personal relationship with his or her team and is known to them as a real person, approachable and down to earth.
As a result, the detached leader has a poor chemical reaction with people, so his or her messages lack credibility and importance. Their messages sound like “fluff,” “the company line,” or “from on high.”
To win the battle for believability, successful leaders do the following so that their communications are taken seriously:
1. They mingle with their staff, team or larger subsets of their organization.
2. They affiliate with their people’s interests and causes.
3. They invite people over to let them see what’s going on in their neck of the woods.
4. They network so that they can connect people who have similar interests and problems.
5. They go visit their team, staff and departments to learn what life and work are like from their perspectives.
When a leader invests in making real connections with people, their messages are automatically more credible. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes persistence. Yes, it’s your job as a leader.