The Communicator’s Advantage

13 September 2023

Good communication is often hailed as a cornerstone of effective teamwork and organizational success. However, it's more than just a buzzword; for skilled communicators, it's a ticket to greater understanding and awareness within their organization. And, coupled with strategic thinking, this organizational awareness can lead to novel insights and solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing our teams and companies.

But before delving too deep into the upsides, let's first define what makes someone a skilled communicator. These individuals are adept at both speaking and listening, capable of conveying complex ideas clearly and understanding others' perspectives. They are also attuned to nonverbal cues and often adapt their communication styles to fit their audience.

In essence, a skilled communicator is not just a presenter of information, but they are adept at sensing how well the information is being received and adjusting their strategy in the moment. 

The Virtuous Cycle of Communication

In any organization, communication is not a one-way street; it's a dynamic, reciprocal process that fuels itself in a virtuous cycle. This cycle is especially evident among skilled communicators, who not only excel in articulating their thoughts but also create an environment conducive to open dialogue. By establishing trust, increasing the frequency of meaningful touchpoints, and keeping an ear to the ground, they set into motion a self-reinforcing loop of effective communication. This cycle not only amplifies their own influence but also enriches the organizational ecosystem as a whole. Here are some key components of this virtuous cycle and how it confers a unique advantage to those who master it.

Building Trust

Skilled communicators often have an easier time building trust with colleagues and superiors. Trust serves as the foundation for open dialogue, and open dialogue, in turn, leads to more information sharing.

Consistency is an advantage here. For both skilled and inexperienced communicators alike, team meetings are a great opportunity to connect with others in a low-stakes, purposeful way. For example, a team leader — whether it’s a project manager or tech lead or product manager — who regularly engages their peers through check-ins and transparent updates is likely to create an environment where their team members also feel secure and more willing to share their own updates and concerns. This, in turn, creates more shared context throughout the team, often leading to team members being able to support each other better or identify potential problems (and solutions) early.

More Touch Points

Because people find it easy and rewarding to converse with skilled communicators, they are more likely to engage with them. This often results in a greater number of touchpoints—formal and informal discussions, meetings, and brainstorming sessions—where valuable information is exchanged.

An underappreciated skill that great communicators have is that the people with whom they are conversing feel heard. And between those interpersonal connections they are able to form and the expanding amount of context they are able to absorb, these individuals make increasingly valuable collaboration partners. It’s no surprise that these are the same people who can consistently turn a watercooler conversation into a brainstorming session and then into a broader strategy for the department and the organization.

An Ear to the Ground

With trust and more conversations come insider knowledge and situational awareness. Skilled communicators are often the first to hear about upcoming changes, challenges, or opportunities in the organization.

But it’s more than just hearing about information, it’s about being more attuned to how the organization works and being able to incorporate that newfound knowledge in a way that may not be obvious to others. Understanding how an impending executive departure is likely to affect different parts of the organization can present an opportunity for someone to step in with a solution for challenges that have yet to surface.

A Catalyst for Success

While the skills of effective communication offer immediate benefits in terms of interpersonal dynamics and information flow, their long-term implications are even more profound. Being a skilled communicator is not merely an asset; it's a multiplier that can dramatically elevate your career, your team, and your entire organization. From decision-making and leadership to personal and professional growth, effective communication can be the fulcrum upon which success pivots. In this section, we delve into the tangible and far-reaching impacts of being a skilled communicator, exploring why mastering this art isn't just a 'nice-to-have,' but a critical cornerstone in achieving organizational excellence.

Better Decision-Making

Armed with more and better information, skilled communicators can make more informed decisions. This advantage becomes particularly apparent in times of crisis or rapid change. Informed decision-making not only affects individual performance but can also influence the trajectory of entire projects or departments.

Leadership Advantages

Being in the loop enables skilled communicators to exert greater influence. Whether it's contributing to strategy or leading a team, their informed viewpoints often hold more weight. Their ability to articulate their thoughts clearly makes it easier for others to buy into their ideas, thereby making them more impactful leaders.

Professional Growth

Knowledge is power, and those with more knowledge often find themselves in a better position to seize opportunities for career advancement. In addition, skilled communicators are frequently identified as high-potential employees and are more likely to be considered for promotions or special projects.

Building a Stronger Network

Effective communication skills don’t just keep you in the loop; they also expand that loop to include a broader network of contacts. A well-networked individual has access to opportunities and information that might not be publicly available, providing yet another avenue for career and personal development.

Enhancing Team Cohesion

Skilled communicators often act as unofficial 'glue' in a team setting. They can serve as mediators in conflicts, facilitate effective brainstorming sessions, and ensure that every team member's voice is heard. This creates a more cohesive and productive work environment, benefiting everyone involved.

Contributing to Organizational Culture

Good communicators often set the tone for the quality of interactions within an organization. They contribute to a culture of openness, collaboration, and mutual respect. This positive atmosphere can make a big difference in employee satisfaction and retention rates, which in turn impacts the organization's bottom line.

Crisis Management

In turbulent times, skilled communicators often emerge as invaluable assets. Their knack for interpreting and relaying information can help to stabilize situations, guide teams more effectively, and mitigate risks, thereby proving critical to an organization's resilience.

In this increasingly complex and fast-paced business landscape, effective communication isn't a mere soft skill—it's a strategic imperative. Being a skilled communicator transcends immediate interaction; it serves as a pivotal lever for long-term success, both for individuals and for organizations at large. Whether it's navigating a crisis, steering a major project, or catalyzing team cohesion, the benefits of mastering this essential skill reverberate through every layer of an organization. And of course, communication is not merely about talking; it's about leading, influencing, and making informed decisions that shape the future. This is why becoming a skilled communicator isn't just beneficial—it's absolutely vital for anyone seeking to make a lasting impact in their organization.

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