In their recent interviews for TechnologyChiefs, Interim DIR of Technology Platforms at Oxford University Press Steve White and DIR Technology & Innovation EBU Simon Fell, both stressed the importance of great communication. Steve listed communication as one of the key skills that any aspiring technology leader should look to develop, suggesting enrolling on a public speaking or even presentation skills course and that any time spent looking to increase your effectiveness in communication, would be time well spent. Simon went further and also pressed for the importance of listening as a skill to develop. For him, communication was also one of his top 3 priorities in his role.
Therefore communication is clearly a fundamental skill needed to be a great technology leader. In your role you will no doubt work with people from all departments and walks of life. Effective leaders know how to assess the situation they’re in, to determine how best to communicate. They make active choices around their presentation style, their tone and their body language.
Something Simon was at pains to point out is that you can’t have great communication skills if you’re not a good listener. Communication is a two-way street and listening is as important as telling. For him, great IT leaders listen first, ask great questions and then look to communicate.
I have used and experienced quite a few approaches, but today’s leaders need to embrace the full suite of digital communication choices (email, blogs, social media etc) if they are to succeed. If attracting and/or retaining talent is important to you and your organisation, you need to be committing a significant part of your time to communicating internally and externally by leveraging these platforms.
If you are looking for a little further inspiration, Richard Branson has provided a list of his top 10 quotes on communication.