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What People Hear When A Leader Doesn’t Communicate

Leader, do you realize what you communicate when you don’t communicate as a leader?

I was talking once with a staff member of a large church. She consistently feared the stability of her job, because she never knew what her pastor was thinking. She was considering looking for a new position, not because she didn’t like her work, but because she wasn’t sure about the future security of her job. She claimed that living with uncertainty was the standard when working on this church staff.

I’ve learned over the years that communication is one of the most important aspects of the field of leadership. In fact, it may be the thing that makes or breaks a leader’s success.

When a leader fails to communicate, it actually communicates a great deal to the organization. Unfortunately, it’s not always an encouraging message. The unknown invites people to create their own scenarios, which rarely turns out well for the leader, the team, or the organization.

What people hear when a leader doesn’t communicate:

You don’t care – You appear apathetic towards the emotional and practical needs of people on your team.

You don’t know -You may not be brave enough to admit it, but don’t worry, others are probably saying it for you.

You can’t decide – Your team thinks you’re incapable of making a decision, either because you’re afraid of people’s reactions or you’re not a strong enough leader to make a decision.

You are holding on to power – Information is power. When a leader controls it – or appears to – it communicates their power hunger. And it is never an attractive quality of a leader. 

You don’t value others – Your silence produces perhaps the most dangerous scenario when people believe you don’t think they are worthy of knowing. Put yourself in their shoes and see how that one feels.

What should you do instead? 

Communicate through a decision. Keep people informed along the way.

You can never communicate too much, especially during seasons of change.

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss issues of leadership in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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