What Happens When a Leader Stops Communicating

He was a great businessman, but stubborn. As his coach, I was recommending that he be more transparent within his organization, but he kept insisting that his people didn’t need communication—they just needed to do their work. After some back and forth, he said in exasperation, “Maybe I’ll just stop communicating altogether!”

I told him it was the worst idea he’d ever had.

A lack of communication from leadership has the potential to harm teams, businesses, workplace dynamics, and the processes that keep everything moving. An uncommunicative leader often causes serious organizational problems. Some of the most common:

A dysfunctional culture. Ineffective communication leads to employee frustration, which in turn breeds distrust and confusion. As those problems spread, loyalty and commitment to the organization decline. Unhappy employees are the top symptom of a dysfunctional culture.

A lack of respect. Respect grows out of relationships, and relationships are built on communication. Communication allows for opportunities to share ideas and perspectives; it builds mutual understanding and trust—all elements of the respect that effective workplaces require. Without communication, there is nowhere for respect to take root. And without an atmosphere of respect, it’s difficult for any organization to function effectively.

Decreased performance. Employees need to know what’s required of them, what success looks like, what issues may be causing trouble, and how they’re doing. Without reliable access to information and resources, they can’t effectively perform their jobs. The resulting frustration leads to a decrease in morale and motivation, causing productivity to drop even further. And every drop in performance carries a cost in reputation and success.

I stated all these points to my client. As I said, he’s a stubborn man—but he’s smart about business, and the last thing he wanted was for his organization to lose its reputation and success. He began to understand how necessary communication was to reaching his goals for the company, and he saw that providing employees with effective communication could boost performance and help his business run more efficiently.

Leaders sometimes think the more they withhold the more power they hold. But I believe the opposite is true—the more you communicate, the more power it gives you.

Poor communication between you and your employees, on the other hand, can have serious long-term consequences for your organization. It can also keep you from reaching your full potential as a leader, alienate those around you, and have a negative impact on the performance and results your leadership is judged by.

If you want to lead, it’s vital that you cultivate your communication skills and spend significant daily time and effort on communication with your team.

Lead from within: Making communication a focal point of your leadership can lead to successes within your business and boost productivity and profits.


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Dr. Dennis Reina

    04. Feb, 2021

    Thank you, Lolly for this article. You are absolutely correct in stating effective leaders need to communicate more often, not less.
    In fact, from our 30 years of research and practice at Reina Trust Building® in building and rebuilding trust, we have found that Trust of Communication® is one of the Three Dimensions of Trust that are essential in establishing a high trust culture, where people collaborate willingly based on mutual respect and out perform their competitors.
    Work gets done via relationships and trust is the foundation of effective relationships. Trust builds the bridge between the business need for results and the human need for connection. Now more than ever, people need to connect, communicate and perform based upon a foundation of trust.
    Yours in trust,
    Dr. Dennis Reina
    For more information, check out Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace, 3rd ed. and Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Lynn Roberson

    20. Oct, 2021

    This post was truly worthwhile to read. I wanted to say thank you for the key points you have pointed out as they are enlightening.

    Reply to this comment

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