A guest piece by Colonel Carla D. Bass, author of Write to Influence!
Think about it – you instinctively know the attributes of a good leader: courage to make bold decisions, taking care of your people, empathy, gratitude, communication, etc.
Well, I disagree with the aforementioned list. Why? It places communication on par with the other traits – one of several. I propound that communication … the ability to influence … undergirds all of these leadership characteristics. It is the cornerstone for leadership – inspired and inspirational!
1. Know your staff, and let them know you, too.
- Mingle with your people. Make time for walkabouts, pull up a chair, listen to their ideas (outside formal meetings). You’ll be amazed at the talents they possess not listed on resumes! People notice your interest, word spreads, and morale soars!
- Provide your workforce a roadmap. Share your vision, goals, and priorities for your organization and the plan to achieve them.
2. Position your organization to succeed. The ability to write powerfully is requisite to defend budgets, justify additional resources, build support for an issue, attract and retain talented employees, win contracts and grants, market products and services, correspond effectively with clients, and much more.
3. Solicit input from your people – The +3/-3 Survey. When assuming a new leadership position, ask people to identify the organization’s three strengths and weaknesses. Correlate the feedback, prioritize the problems you will tackle, and share the results – good, bad, and ugly – with the workforce.
4. Herald success. Showcase accomplishments of individuals, your organization, and even yourself.
5. Strike the “write note.” Send personalized notes to your people recognizing occasions – joyous and sad. People appreciate this caring gesture, which speaks volumes about the leader.
6. Throw a party! Take time to play as a group. Yes, this is communication, too! Whether an office luncheon or a larger event, it’s a great way to build camaraderie.
7. Grow the next generation. Communication undergirds this, too! Delegate authority and empower subordinates. Let them present that important briefing or accompany you to senior-level meetings, when appropriate.
8. Work the occasional miracle. “They say ‘It can’t be done!’” – Prove “them” wrong! It CAN be done!
About the Author
Colonel Carla D. Bass, USAF (Ret), authored the multiple award-winning book “Write to Influence!” now in its second edition. Writing powerfully was central to her success. Throughout her 45-year career (30 in the Air Force and 15 with a federal agency), she composed items sent to Congress, the White House, generals, and ambassadors; hundreds of performance reviews; awards nomination; and budget justifications.
As a squadron commander, Carla transformed her 480-person unit from the most losing in state-wide, professional awards into the one to beat. How? She developed her writing methodology and taught her troops to write. So successful was her program, she taught thousands of Air Force members for the next 15 years.
She now gives highly acclaimed presentations to government agencies; corporations; private businesses; NGOs; and academic audiences. From tips to frame a winning argument to crafting powerful resumes, grant submissions, input to performance reviews, and essays for college applications … she covers it all!
Her battle cries are twofold: 1) “Powerful writing changes lives” and 2) “Powerful writing is the lifeblood of successful organizations”
Carla’s assignments included Germany, Bulgaria (as the defense and air attaché), Turkey, Korea, and Washington, D.C. For more info, see www.WriteToInfluence.net.