Born to Lead

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”


—Genesis 11:6-7


After the great flood of Noah’s day, God ordered the survivors to scatter across the earth and repopulate. But they had different plans. They decided to settle in one place and to build a tower that reached into the heavens—making a name for themselves. Because the project was being done in complete disobedience to God’s command, he confused their language and they had to abandon their efforts. Lesson learned: If you can’t communicate, you can’t build anything—a marriage, an organization, or a team. 


Good leadership and good communication go hand in hand. Being communicative is being forthcoming in sharing or exchanging information. Communicating requires one to be skilled enough to clearly express ideas and information with a variety of people including superiors, subordinates, customers, or one’s peers. 


One of the most critical elements of being communicative is authenticity. It’s important to just be yourself.


Another factor in being communicative is being visible. Don’t hide behind emails, notes, or instant messages. Show up in person as often as you can. Allow people to get to know you on a deeper level. You will find them more responsive to your plans and requests when they can connect them to a human being.


We often think of communicating as only speaking; however, listening is a vital part of the process. When you are a good listener, others learn to trust and respect you, for only by listening can you gain an understanding of someone else’s perspective.


Regardless of your role as a leader—whether you lead a team, run a company, are an author or influencer, or are an entrepreneur—communication skills are vital to your success. We should never stop sharpening our skills so that the message we send is the exact message that is received. Try these tips to take your communication to the next level: 


Be direct and simple. Don’t hide behind vague or complicated words. Simplify your message so that anyone who listens can easily grasp it. The apostle Paul was a highly educated man, but he wisely refrained from preaching above the heads of his audience. “My message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)


Communicate frequently. Communicate as often as you can and through as many different mediums as you can. People often learn and consume information in different ways, so it’s a good idea to give them options.


Encourage feedback. Always be willing to hear another perspective. When you give a directive or offer an idea, pause and allow the other person to respond. Remember the 80/20 rule: Listen 80 percent of the time and speak 20 percent of the time.


Walk your talk. If your words and actions are inconsistent, you will lose credibility. Always remember that even when you are not speaking, you are communicating. Nothing will cause people to mistrust you more than not being a person of your word or displaying a lack of integrity in some way.


Be a storyteller. Stories serve as great visual illustrations, and they’re likely to be shared with others. They breathe life into your goals or vision, so learning how to be a good storyteller will enhance your communication. It helps others vividly grasp the message. Jesus knew the power of a story. We learn in Mark 4:33-34 that, “Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables.”