Why is Communication Important in Leadership?

authentic leadership communication styles effective communication effective communication skills leadership communication leadership responsibility responsibility why is communication important in leadership Jun 09, 2022
Why is Communication Important in Leadership

Having looked at the one responsibility we can’t shirk as a leader, as well as what we can expect to happen if we do, let’s take a quick look at some data that makes a strong case for why communication really is so important in leadership… It’s not just some crazy tirade I’m on, that touchy-feely soft skill that is communication has a hard impact on the bottom line in every organization - whether we want to admit it or not!

In the second lesson of our Emerging Leader Development course, we cover five critical principles that leaders can use as a foundation for effective communication within their teams. Since that’s the first lesson in that particular course that covers the topic, we were very intentional about including some very tangible reasons any supervisor, manager, or business owner working through it with us should take it to heart.

A few years ago, Salesforce.com, a large customer relationship management software company shared the results of a study they had done surveying 1,400 executives on what they saw as the primary reasons for workplace failure. Of those surveyed, “86% cited a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication” as the primary reasons for failures in their workplaces. Not 8.6%… A whopping 86%!!! Without even going into what any given failure resulted in, I believe that makes an incredibly strong case for the importance of communication in leadership!

Just in case that’s not enough, or if it’s too abstract for you and you want specific numbers, here's what we include in that lesson from a study done by SIS Research International, “the cumulative cost per year due to productivity losses resulting from communication barriers is more than $26,000 per employee. Not only that, the study found that a business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. Translated into dollars, that’s more than $530,000 per year.”

As we cover those stats with folks in different sized organizations around the country, I turn it into a simple math equation so they have an accurate picture of what they’re most likely losing in profitability (and all of those losses are from profitability) based on how many employees they have… If they have 50 employees, the cost is around $250k. If they’ve got 200, it’s probably over $1 million annually. And a facility with a thousand employees may well be losing over $5 million every year to communication issues!

But wait a minute Wes, all that may not be on the leaders’ shoulders! John Maxwell would likely respond to that by saying, “EVERYTHING rises and falls on leadership!”

Since I’m in complete agreement with John on that, we’ll work through some specific leadership communication skills soon. But first, we’ll outline some different communication styles we’ll need to consider…