It is simply impossible to become a great servant leader if you are not an outstanding communicator. I am not referring to the ability to talk well, or give great speeches. I am referencing the importance of achieving effective communication results.

I can think of examples in my career when I communicated well, and when I did not do such a great job. It went well when I was closely connected to the concerns and needs of the receivers, and adapted the message to meet those needs. Anytime I simply pushed my own agenda without regard for the receivers, I might as well have been talking to myself. The message would not be heard as I intended.

Effective communication results happen when people hear the message, connect with the message, and leave with a passion for carrying out the message.

There are some important skills and attributes that can enable a servant leader to become a highly effective communicator:

  1. Align your actions with your words: You must be a person of high character, and someone who can be trusted to be an impactful communicator. People must see you affirming what you say through your actions. People will not listen otherwise!
  2. Focus on building relationships: Be real with people, and talk personally not corporately. If you don’t have relationships with people it is nearly impossible to truly know and understand their needs. That personal understanding will allow you to know what needs to be communicated. People will listen to people who care about them!
  3. Keep it simple and concise: Learn to be specific and clear in your communications. Ask short, and to the point questions. People are busy and will respect and appreciate your efforts in this area.
  4. Approach each interaction with a servant’s heart: When you focus more on contributing and adding value, as opposed to what you are going to receive from a conversation you will normally accomplish your goal. The focus on others is a servant leader’s default in all aspects of their leadership.
  5. Seek out opposing positions: We will never get the best results if we are just surrounding our self with people that agree with us. We need to understand dissenting thoughts, discuss them, and then determine the best way forward. People will respect that, and the communication will be better received knowing that all opinions have been considered.
  6. Quit talking and listen: Servant leaders know they need to quiet their own chatter both in their head and what is coming out of their mouth, so that they can truly connect to those within their sphere of influence. When talking, ask great questions. Once you have truly listened to people’s thoughts, needs, and concerns, you will be able to more effectively build a communication plan that will provide results.
  7. Insure you are competent: You can’t fake your way through important communications. You need to do whatever it takes to build your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter being discussed. Value emulates out of competency. People will listen to people they can learn from.
  8. Address all groups as if you were in a 1×1 discussion: My book writing coach is teaching me the importance of writing as if you are talking to a specific individual. That is important in all communication. Each person within your all-employee group of 500 people that you are addressing should feel like you are talking and interacting directly with them.
  9. Properly prepare: Bottom line, to be an effective communicator takes a lot of work. You can’t just show up each day and wing it. Taking the time to enhance your skills of effective communications will increase the impact you are trying to achieve in your communication.

God illustrated the importance of words in creating the world. He spoke the world into existence. The words of the Bible became flesh when Jesus came into the world. Clearly words and communications have been important in the history of the world. The better you get in this area the more influence and impact you will have as a servant leader.

Which of these skills do you most need to work on to produce better communication results?

Mark Deterding

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6