No Cape Needed
Do you know the most common communication mistakes leaders make?
What practical steps can you take right now to be a more effective communicator?
What is the most common mistake we make when using email?
“True communication comes from a shared understanding of meaning.” -David Grossman
David Grossman is a communications expert. Both David and the firm he founded in 2000, The Grossman Group, have received numerous awards. Prior to founding the firm, he was director of communications for McDonald’s, and he teaches the only graduate course on internal communications in the U.S. at Columbia University.
What you notice when you pick up David’s latest book, No Cape Needed: The Simplest, Smartest, Fastest Steps to Improve How You Communicate by Leaps and Bounds, is that it’s stunning as a physical book. Full of colorful graphics, gorgeous photography, and digestible information, it is one of the reasons I still enjoy the physical book. Not only is it a gorgeous book, but it is full of immediately actionable, useful information. I recently asked David to share some of the wisdom from his book and his consulting practice.
Communication is a Superpower
Question: As a kid, you wanted to have superpowers. As an adult you say, “Communication really is a superpower.” Explain why you elevate communication to that status.
You can use communication to make others feel good about their jobs, to be engaged and excited, to help someone who’s having a hard time get through a rough patch, or to inspire a team. And in essence, you can use communication to make substantial changes that aren’t just about helping a company or team go from ‘good to great’ but instead create a lasting legacy through a new strategic direction.
A lot of people don’t think they can communicate well or don’t think they can develop the skill. But the truth is that it just takes practice. If leaders at all levels of their organizations come to realize that, then great things can happen for their companies. And they can become heroes of their own.
3 Steps to Improve Your Communication
In your new book, No Cape Needed, what are the top three steps you recommend for improving communication?
1. Understand your audience.
To truly move employees to action, we have to know what they care about and get into their mindset. As leaders we spend much of our time and effort setting business goals and developing plans to achieve them. Yet the most important element behind everything is your team. If they don’t understand where they fit in, all of our lofty goals will go nowhere.
2. Plan, and then communicate regularly.
Leaders often mistakenly assume that as long as they have ideas, a vision, and a sense of purpose, that will be enough to lead the way forward. If only it were that easy. In truth, good leaders know the importance of planning and clearly spelling out the path ahead. You can wing your communications and take a chance on the results or be planful and purposeful to increase your chances of success ten-fold.
3. Listen and create dialogue.
True communication comes from a shared understanding of meaning. Ask open-ended questions. Listen. Listen some more. Check for understanding.
“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” -John Maxwell
3 Common Communication Mistakes
What are some of the common mistakes leaders make when they communicate?
1. They don’t set the context.