Leaders are faced with the task of motivating groups of people toward a common goal. Although it can be challenging to inspire a diverse group, a good leader communicates in a way that resonates with the audience and inspires toward an overarching vision. The leader must first understand the audience, be aware of their own communication and speaking style, and inspire the audience to believe in the vision by emphasizing common values. It is a careful balancing act that requires a portfolio of skills.
Understanding your audience is the foundation of delivering an effective message. Employees trust a leader that makes an effort to understand their unique perspectives and listens to their opinions. When you have conversations with your employees, ask questions and make sure they are comfortable with you. Listening to employees provides critical insight into the general morale and mindset of the company. Reference the thoughts and concerns of your employees as you speak to the vision of the company.
Self-awareness is an essential leadership skill that may take years of experience to develop. Criticism and feedback from your colleagues can help you grow in this area. The Harvard Business Review encourages asking coworkers what your shortcomings are. Choose individuals that will be honest and direct. Feedback is the beginning of development and progress. If you have a particular skill you need extra work to improve, consider a coach for extra mentoring or public speaking classes.
To be an exceptional leader, you have to “imagine a positive future” for your group. Once you have that vision and purpose, use your communication skills and the understanding you have of your audience to “animate the vision” (Kouzes, Posner). Focus on values that are important to your audience as you communicate the vision. You want your audience to care about goals of the company. Describe the change the vision will bring to your industry and how your employees can directly contribute to the vision.
Communicating a strong vision is essential for leaders who want to inspire extraordinary change and progress within an organization.