Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once commented, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” In this video, Chris Goede speaks with John Maxwell Company CEO Mark Cole about the importance of communication for organizational effectiveness. 

Leaders who are great communicators do more than communicate; they connect with the people with whom they are speaking. As author Brian Tracy once said, you must “accept complete responsibility both for understanding and for being understood.” This is never more true than when having a difficult conversation.

Clarity is Kind

Leaders must engage in difficult conversations, both with their teams and with individuals on the team. In every case, you must be clear about the problem, the desired outcome, and the timeline for closure. The ability to speak in such a way that people understand what you said and why you said it is the sign of a great communicator. 

If you want to communicate and connect in the difficult conversations you must have, try balancing care and candor. If you are a strong relationship person, you may tend to communicate with a lot of care. Unfortunately, this often leaves the problem unaddressed. If you are more of a task-based person, you may tend to communicate with a lot of candor. Unfortunately, this often destroys the relationship while addressing a problem. Instead, practice balancing care and candor to clearly address the problem while preserving the relationship.

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