Communication from a leadership perspective is all about an approach and an attitude. I know there’s more to it than that, but it’s a good place to start.
In our fast paced lives people want answers immediately – they want to be told how to do things and what to say. This can be fine as a quick fix but when the intention is to engage people it has little real impact. Leadership communication is far more impactful when it genuinely comes from something you believe yourself or what’s important for you – confidently expressing yourself around the narrative or message.
How I came to EDGE
When I developed the framework EDGE (Engaging, Dynamic, Genuine, Effective), it came from my experiences of working in organisations and connecting with the leadership or senior management teams. Trying to create communications that meant something to employees and people connected to the organisation. There was always a perception of what that communication needed to be, usually based on something that leader saw somewhere else or liked the idea of, for e.g. a new app or slick video. Oftentimes the thing that was missing was the human connection – the ‘why’ or what was important to the leader.
Addressing the gap
To address the gap – the ability to make a human connection – I came up with a way to coach leaders through a framework, fully focused on developing how they connect, engage and communicate.
Each word in the framework covers a state of being that is supported by a set of attributes. Because we’re all different not every area will be a priority for everyone, although it’s always good to review them all to identify any gaps.
The foundation looks at an individual’s purpose, values and strengths and this might involve some assessment or insight to find out where people are. I found that it’s really hard to be genuine if you don’t know who you are, what’s important and what you’re naturally good at.
Then there’s the framework…
E is for Engaging
The ability to confidently engage, connect and inspire people to believe you, take you seriously and follow your lead. It includes attributes like listening, inclusivity, curiosity and building rapport.
D is for Dynamic
Charismatic and persuasive, with the ability to be clear, decisive and express yourself purposefully and with impact. It includes attributes like being purpose-driven, persuasive, knowing how to handle yourself when faced with challenging conversations.
G is for Genuine
The ability to be open and honest borne out of an awareness of who you are and what you stand for. Being yourself consistently to build trust. Attributes here include being trusted, authentic, value led and real.
E is for Effective
Bold, innovative and creative open to gain the best approach to connect well for every challenge. Using available resources to achieve the best outcome. Attributes include being creative, influential, visible and reputable.
Finding the solution
There are a number of reasons why it’s beneficial to engage with these themes when it comes to being confident in communication. If nothing else it will take the pain out of some of the questions you might have about being effective in your leadership. Good leadership is centred around your ability to communicate. If you can’t communicate, connect and engage, you can’t lead.
This might be a frustration for you and you might not have identified what’s wrong or what you need to do. You might be wondering what’s missing or why you can’t get your team to listen and act on what you say. Why your direct reports look like they agree with you in the board room, but don’t ever carry out your instructions once they leave the room. You might even be seeing great growth as your company matures but can’t quite connect with your teams as things change or the culture shifts.
I can’t promise that challenges will disappear, but I can promise that this will help you to be better equipped to connect with people and ultimately develop the impact and influence needed.