Communicate to Lead

Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on May 13, 2014

There is nothing better than knowing how to communicate well to earn the trust of those who work with us.

According to a recent LHH survey taken by more than 800 employees in the U.S., the ability to communicate is the main quality needed to create trust in leaders. The survey found that 52% of respondents valued communication in their bosses even over aptitude, skill, or knowledge.

The question asked was: “What is the most important leadership quality for building a trusting relationship with your manager?” Of the 835 answers, 52% said communication, 31% emphasized respect, 11% competence, and 6% empathy.

This confirms what experts tell us: to effectively lead people in the working world, we cannot rely solely on our competence. We need to earn our people’s trust, and that is vital to our ability to influence, inspire, and motivate them.

To paraphrase Kristen Leverone, that fundamental trust is achieved through verbal (and also non-verbal) and written communications that transmit honesty, warmth, authenticity, and clarity. She goes on to explain that we put much more trust in those people “with whom we can connect in a more personal way”![1]

If we are able to establish a relationship of trust and empathy (connect) early on, our messages are better received, we are listened to more receptively, and what we say is generally received more positively and openly.

Developing new communication skills requires practice. More important, they must be coupled with respect, empathy, and warmth.

Good leaders look for opportunities to talk with their associates and teams in order to get to know them better. They listen to them closely, , and respond or give their opinion truthfully. Not only does this create opportunities for leaders to show their interest in their associates’ growth, but it also allows leaders  to use these one-on-one conversations to give constructive feedback and guidance.

Associates become much more loyal, as well as productive and committed to reaching goals, when they feel that we have a genuine interest in their needs, that we genuinely care for them!

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[1] “Leaders’ Communication Skills Found to Be Most Important to Earning Employees’ Trust,” Lee Hecht Harrison Press Release, last accessed May 28,2018,




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