Ready to earn more respect and revenue? Click here to apply for a FREE Become A Better Leader in 100 Days FIT Session!

Angela M. Odom

Podcast Hire Me to Speak About Services COVID-19 Resources Subscribe to the Better U Leadership Podcast Login

A Communications Overview for Leaders


Communication is a core leadership function and is closely aligned with effective leadership. There is no escape from growing your communication skills. Every relationship requires skilled communicators, whether in casual groups, formal organizations or within communities.

Leaders are expected to express ideas and share information with various audiences; bosses, peers, employees, customers, partners, stakeholders and influencers.

Communication is giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information, signals or messages through appropriate media, enabling individuals or groups to persuade, to seek information, to give information or to express emotions.

The Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication is a mathematical theory of communication that argues that human communication can be broken down into 6 key concepts: sender, encoder, channel, noise, decoder, and receiver. A later version of the theory by Norbert Weiner added a 7th concept (‘feedback’) which changed the model from a linear to cyclical model.

Communications Process:

The communication process has several components that enable the transmission of a message. Here are the various parts:

  1. Sender (Information Source): This is the person who is delivering a message to a recipient.
  2. Encoder (Transmitter): This refers to the information that the sender is relaying to the receiver.
  3. Channel of communication: This is the transmission or method of delivering the message.
  4. Noise: Noise interrupts a message while it’s on the way from the sender to the receiver. It’s named after the idea that ‘noise’ could interrupt our understanding of a message. There are two types of noise: internal and external.
  5. Decoding: This is the interpretation of the message. Decoding is performed by the receiver.
  6. Receiver: The receiver is the person who is getting or receiving the message.
  7. Feedback: In some instances, the receiver might have feedback or a response for the sender. This starts an interaction

What are Leaders communicating?

Leaders communicate vision and strategy and goals.

Why are leaders communicating?

Consistently developing your communication skills can enhance organizational effectiveness.

Effective leadership demands interacting with people in a way that motivates and energizes them. This requires communicating in a manner that goes beyond just relaying information. The most successful leaders inspire others, build connections between people, and create alignment throughout the organization.

How do leaders communicate?

Let’s start with a 2019 online Harvard Business School Article titled, “Essential Communication Skills for Leaders”.

  • Ability to Adapt Your Communication Style
  • Active Listening
  • Transparency
  • Clarity
  • Ability to ask open ended questions
  • Empathy
  • Open Body Language
  • Receiving and Implementing Feedback


  1. Ability to Adapt Your Communication Style

It’s essential to identify your leadership style, so that you can better understand how you’re interacting with, and perceived by, employees across the organization. For example, if you’re an Laissez-faire leader, you likely have a expect others to manage themselves and to be invested in completing tasks. While an effective approach for some, it might fall flat for others who seek more guidance, direction and feedback at work.

Every employee’s motivations are different, so knowing how to tailor your communication is essential to influencing others and reaching organizational goals.

  1. Active Listening


Effective leaders know when they need to talk and, more importantly, when they need to listen. Show that you care by asking for employees’ opinions, ideas, and feedback. And when they do share, actively engage in the conversation—pose questions, invite them to elaborate, and take notes.

It’s important to stay in the moment and avoid interrupting. Keep your focus on the employee and what it is they’re saying. To achieve that, you also need to eliminate any distractions, including constant pings on your cell phone or checking incoming emails.

  1. Transparency

By speaking openly about the company’s goals, opportunities, and challenges, leaders can build trust amongst their team and foster an environment where employees feel empowered to share their ideas and collaborate. Just acknowledging mistakes can encourage experimentation and create a safe space for active problem-solving.

Every individual should understand the role they play in the company’s success. The more transparent leaders are, the easier it is for employees to make that connection.

  1. Clarity

 When communicating with employees, speak in specifics. Define the desired result of a project or strategic initiative and be clear about what you want to see achieved by the end of each milestone. If goals aren’t being met, try simplifying your message further or ask how you can provide additional clarity or help.

The clearer you are, the less confusion there will be around priorities. Employees will know what they’re working toward and feel more engaged in the process.

  1. Ability to Ask Open-Ended Questions

If you want to understand employees’ motivations, thoughts, and goals better, practice asking open-ended questions. Jennifer Currence, president of consulting firm The Currence Group, said to the Society of Human Resource Management to use the acronym TED, which stands for:

  • “Tell me more.”
  • “Explain what you mean.”
  • “Define that term or concept for me.”

By leveraging those phrases when speaking with your team, you can elicit more thoughtful, thorough responses and ensure you also have clarity around what they need from you to succeed.

  1. Empathy

There’s a reason empathy has been ranked the top leadership skill needed for success. The better you get at acknowledging and understanding employees’ feelings and experiences, the more heard and valued they’ll feel.

In a recent survey (pdf), 96 percent of respondents said it was important for their employers to demonstrate empathy, yet 92 percent claimed it remains undervalued. If you want to improve your communication and build a stronger, more productive culture, practice responding with empathy.

  1. Open Body Language


Communication isn’t just what you say; it’s how you carry yourself. Ninety-three percent of communication’s impact comes from nonverbal cues, according to executive coach Darlene Price.

To ensure you’re conveying the right message, focus on your body language. If you’re trying to inspire someone, talking with clenched fists and a furrowed brow isn’t going to send the right message. Instead, make eye contact to establish interest and rapport and flash a genuine smile to convey warmth and trust.

  1. Receiving and Implementing Feedback

 Asking for feedback from your team can not only help you grow as a leader, but build trust among your colleagues. It’s critical, though, that you don’t just listen to the feedback. You also need to act on it.

If you continue to receive feedback from your team, but don’t implement any changes, they’re going to lose faith in your ability to follow through. It’s likely there will be comments you can’t immediately act on—be transparent about that. By letting your employees know they were heard and then apprising them of any progress you can, or do, make, they’ll feel as though you value their perspective and are serious about improving.

In closing,

We discussed communications; the definition, the process, and what, why and how leaders communicate.

Leaders who communicate effectively get expected results consistently.

I'm rooting for you!

Angela M. Odom, Your Leadership Coach


Angela M. Odom is a life and leadership coach, podcast host, proud Army veteran and the author of BRONCO STRONG: A Memoir of the Last Deployed Personnel Services Battalion and a contributing author to the book, "Camouflaged Sisters: Leadership Through The Eyes of Senior Military Women Leaders". 

ONLINE: Website I Instagram I Facebook I LinkedIn I Twitter I You Tube

Disclaimer: If you click on some of the links and make a purchase, Angela may receive compensation. So click away. 



50% Complete

Grab My Grown Women Better U Resource Guide

Get some tools to help you in your relationships, health, finances and leadership abilities.