How can anyone go on to be a great leader if he can not clearly, concisely and directly communicate what his vision, goals and plans for an organization are? Those individuals in leadership who fail to recognize how important getting others involved and motivated is, rarely have much of an opportunity to effectively lead or achieve even the loftiest and most important goals. Lakshmi Mittal stated, "When people can see which direction the leaders are going in, it becomes easier to motivate them." Ineffective individuals in leadership positions invariably lack the clarity of purpose, the transparency, and often the self – confidence, that would permit them to effectively communicate both plans and reasons, in order to motivate and mobilize others to action, commit, involvement and even caring .
1. How important are motivational skills to leadership? In my over three decades of identifying, qualifying, stimulating, training, developing and consulting to well over a thousand individuals in positions of leadership, I have become convinced that no other single trait or quality is as essential as motivation. Trainers can teach people many of the skills needed to be an effective leader, but motivation takes not only a keen understanding, but also the positive attitude, commitment, people skills, caring, the desire to create value, and absolute integrity. Simply using motivational rhetoric rarely has any long – term impact, and while the words may rally the troops, other than ring true and are believable, are often ignored or forgotten. People watch not only what someone says, but whether his actions are in alignment with his words. In order to truly motivate, others must believe that a leader really cares, has an important message, is transparent, honest, trustworthy, and most importantly, is someone they would be proud to and want to follow. That is true and absolute motivation!
2. Ben Feldman, one of the foremost insurance salespersons of the early to mid – twenty century, defined his success this way, "One percent technical knowledge and ninety – nine percent understanding human nature." Most people want to be uplifted, made to feel good about something, want to care, yet often need someone else to give them the emotional support and motivate them to do more. It is generally more expedient to give up than to persevere, yet it is precisely that persistence that often creates greatness, and the makes the most difference. A great leader understands that his message must be clear, and that he must focus on goals and needs.
There is no place in effective leadership for foggy focused leaders. True leaders understand what they need to do, and realize they must explain their message clearly, and effectively. For this reason, our greatest leaders have always been the best listeners, because by effectively listening, one is best able to communicate most effectively.