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The Triad of Effective Leadership Communication: Practical, Emotional, and Social

If you haven’t listened to the podcasts about Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg stop what you are doing and listen to that now… it’s awesome. 


There was one thing that really stuck out for me, and I thought I would share it, with a bit of my own experience, wisdom and flavour.  

As we all know, in the realm of leadership, effective communication is not just a skill; it's the cornerstone of success. A leader's ability to communicate proficiently can determine the direction and success of their team or organisation.  


Communication transcends mere verbal exchanges; it encompasses a spectrum of dimensions, each crucial in its own right. However, Duhigg talks specifically about three types of communication—practical, emotional, and social, and how you must meet people where they are at, to create a space for effective communication. 


Practical Communication: The Backbone of Efficiency 

Practical communication involves the transmission of information, instructions, and directives essential for the execution of tasks and the attainment of objectives. It's the bedrock upon which operational efficiency and productivity thrive. I’d go as far as saying, it’s the ‘Arranger’ or ’Execution’ of the communication types. Leaders proficient in practical communication articulate goals clearly, delegate responsibilities effectively, and provide concise feedback to ensure alignment and progress. 


  • Clarity and Precision: An ability to communicate clearly and concisely directly impacts the team's understanding of tasks and expectations. Ambiguity breeds confusion and inefficiency, while clarity fosters focus and direction. 


  • Delegation and Empowerment: Effective leaders leverage practical communication to delegate tasks based on individual strengths and capabilities, empowering team members to take ownership and contribute meaningfully to collective goals. 


  • Feedback and Improvement: Regular and constructive feedback loops facilitate continuous improvement within the team, fostering an environment of learning and development. 



Emotional Communication: Building Trust and Connection 

Emotional communication transcends the exchange of information; it fosters authentic connections, builds trust, and nurtures a positive organisational culture. Leaders who excel in emotional communication recognise and validate the feelings and experiences of their team members, creating an environment where individuals feel valued, understood, and motivated. 


  • Empathy and Understanding: Empathetic leaders demonstrate an understanding of their team's perspectives, challenges, and aspirations, cultivating an inclusive and supportive workplace culture. 


  • Inspiration and Motivation: Emotional communication empowers leaders to inspire and motivate their teams, igniting passion and commitment towards shared goals. Genuine appreciation and recognition amplify individual and collective efforts, driving performance and morale. 


  • Conflict Resolution: By fostering open and honest dialogue, emotionally intelligent leaders navigate conflicts constructively, transforming challenges into opportunities for growth and collaboration. 



Social Communication: Cultivating Influence and Impact 

Social communication encompasses the ability to connect with diverse audiences, build rapport, and wield influence effectively. In an interconnected world, leadership extends beyond organisational boundaries, requiring leaders to navigate complex social dynamics and leverage networks to drive change and innovation. 


  • Networking and Relationship Building: Leaders proficient in social communication cultivate robust networks, forging meaningful relationships with stakeholders, peers, and industry influencers. These connections facilitate collaboration, knowledge exchange, and resource mobilisation. 


  • Influence and Persuasion: Effective leaders harness the power of persuasion to garner support for their vision and initiatives. By articulating compelling narratives and framing messages strategically, they inspire action and drive organisational alignment. 


  • Adaptability and Cultural Competence: In a globalised landscape, leaders must exhibit cultural competence and adaptability, navigating diverse cultural norms, values, and communication styles to foster collaboration and synergy across borders. 


The Intersection: Mastery of Multifaceted Communication 

You cannot just do one well.    As a leader you need to know what is needed, and more importantly, when.   If someone is coming at you with an emotional conversation, and you answer  ‘Well let’s find a solution to that’ (practical communication), you will end up with a total disconnect.  


Many of you will have heard me approach those conversations with a “Do you need me to listen, or do you need me to fix”. 

Another good one is, “Do you need a hand, to be heard, or a hug”. 


While distinct in their focus, practical, emotional, and social communication are interconnected facets of effective leadership communication. Mastery of these dimensions equips leaders with the tools to navigate complexities, inspire greatness, and drive transformative change. 


By honing these skills, leaders can foster trust, inspire innovation, and propel their teams towards shared success in an ever-evolving landscape of challenges and opportunities. Hear what your people need, and meet them where they are at, not just where you are comfortable. 

At Blue Mercury, we support people to have effective, vulnerable, honest communication. Whether at work or at home. If you are interested in making the most of training and development - Check out some details here or contact us for more information!


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