I’ve been pondering this quote ever since hearing it in my radio talk show interview with Jan Masoaka, editor of Blue Avocado.   The quote triggers thoughts about the proliferation of knowledge exchange or “improve communication” courses now available for corporate learning and at considerable cost. Frankly, some seem like a colossal waste of time and money, especially those that are straight lecture or worse, straight, “I’ll read this to you” powerpoint presentations.

Learning to be an effective communicator in my experience, does not take place through the eyeballs. It must be experienced:  practice, evaluation, correction, more practice.  Of course, what happens in the practice is the building of relationships. But I never thought of it the other way around. That relationships are required for effective communication to occur.

In my leadership trainings, I am a frequent promoter of Peter Drucker’s quote, “The job of a manager is relationships—upwards, downwards and sideways.”  With that goal in mind, my philosophy of effective leadership revolves around “Fix YOU First,” the title of my leadership seminars.  Fix YOU First simply means that before a person can lead anybody, they need to be aware of, in charge of, and intentional about their own attitudes and behaviors. Then they are in a position to build positive relationships, so essential for leading others well. 

Perhaps the concepts of leadership and communication are inextricably intertwined. Seems obvious? Maybe, but then why are so many organizations struggling so hard with both. Why all the focus on “team building,” and why isn’t there more focus on requiring –and testing for–a high level of emotional intelligence?  Why do some CEOs still see self awareness and self management (absolute prerequisites for relationship building/maintaining) as soft skills, even “squishy!” In future posts, I will be talking about a relatively new assessment, the “Five-Factor Personality Model” or “Big Five.” When compared with the traits required for a job, the Big Five can be used to test how many of those traits he/she possesses and to what degree. Then the employer can make a decision, along with other factors, on the best person for the job—with more precision and more confidence. And, the kicker is that this assessment meets EEOC (Economic Employment Opportunity Commission?) standards! 

Stay tuned for much more about the Big Five !