Strategic Comms: Why Communication is a Core Competence of Managerial Leaders

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By Owen Eagan, The Saint Consulting Group

When discussing the core competencies of managerial leaders, communication must always be included because it is the basis upon which all core competencies are conveyed.  In fact, Peter Drucker, the management guru, stated that 60% of all management problems are the result of poor communication.

Moreover, said Drucker, “There can be no communication if it is conceived as going from the ‘I’ to the ‘Thou.’  Communication only works from one member of us to another.  Communication in an organization – and this may be the true measure of our communication failure and the true measure of our communication need – is not a means of organization.  It is the mode of organization.”

Therefore, managers need to ensure that they communicate effectively.  But how can they be sure that this is occurring?  The only way to really know is through feedback.  This can take many forms including annual 360-degree reviews, quarterly reviews with your direct reports and ongoing informal feedback.  And, though leaders need to be evaluated on all core competencies, some questions regarding the core competency of communication should assess a manager’s ability to (1) ensure that communication is open and properly understood, (2) encourage an open communication environment, (3) encourage a supportive communication environment, and (4) be an active listener.

This will help ensure that communication comes from one member of us to another as Drucker recommended.

Owen Eagan is a Senior Consultant for Saint Consulting, an international management consulting firm specializing in land use politics.  He is also an adjunct faculty member at Emerson College, the nation’s only four-year institution dedicated exclusively to communications and the performing arts.