Leadership communications consists of those messages from a leader that are rooted in the values and culture of an organization and are of significant importance to key stakeholders, e.g., employees, customers, strategic partners, shareholders, and the media. These messages affect the vision, mission, and transformation of an organization. The chief intention of a leadership message is to build trust between the leader and her or his constituency. Traits of leadership communications reflect:
Significance - Messages are about big issues that reflect the present and future of the organization (e.g., people, performance, products, and services).
Values - Messages reflect vision, mission, and culture.
Consistency - Messages exemplify stated values and behaviors.
Cadence - Messages occur with regularity and frequency.
In its simplest form, leadership communication flows from the leadership's perspective. It is grounded in the character of the leader and the values of the organization. It is an expression of culture as well as an indicator of the climate, e.g., openness, integrity, and honesty.
Purpose of Leadership Communications
There are many types of leadership communications. Each of them emerges from a leadership action that is communicated from the point of view of the leader—i.e., doing what is beneficial for the organization and the people in it. Leadership communications are designed to engage the listener, gain commitment, and ultimately create a bond of trust between leader and follower. They also do something more: They drive results, enabling leader and follower to work together more efficiently because they understand the issues and know what has to be done to accomplish their goals.
Leadership Communications Model
Leadership messages do the following
Specifically, leadership messages do one or more of the following:
Affirm organizational vision and mission. These messages let people know where the organization is headed and what it stands for.
Drive transformational initiatives, e.g., change! These messages get people prepared to do things differently and give the reasons why.
Issue a call to action. These messages galvanize people to rally behind an initiative. They tell people what to do and how to do it.
Reinforce organizational capability. These messages underscore the company's strengths and are designed to make people feel good about the organization for which they work.
Create an environment in which motivation can occur. These messages provide reasons why things are done and create a path of success for people to follow. They also describe the benefits of success, e.g., a more competitive organization, more opportunities for promotion, or increased compensation.
Promote a product or service (and affirm its link to the organization's vision, mission, and values). These messages place what the organization produces within the mission, culture, and values of the organization; e.g., we create products that improve people's lives.