Is your leader a people person?

It’s the stuff of nightmares for communicators: a leader who can’t or won’t make a connection with their colleagues.


If you’ve ever been in the position of having to share an awkward truth with a CEO, you’re not alone. A recent Interact/Harris poll published in the Harvard Business Review summarised the top complaints US employees have about their leaders.


These were the top communication issues preventing leaders from being effective:

  • Not recognising employee achievements
  • Not giving clear directions
  • Not having time to meet staff
  • Not talking to subordinates
  • Taking credit for others’ ideas.

There’s a school of thought that a CEO’s primary role these days is to be a ‘Chief Engagement Officer’, building trust by establishing personal relationships and listening to people’s concerns… so these findings are particularly worrying.


But, as the HBR article makes clear, the most effective leaders “know that healthy communication requires the energy of connection… and that productivity is tied to communication.”


And the good news is that a struggling leader can start small: every day we see examples of those who take the time to quickly ‘like’ an idea, blog post or piece of content on their organisation’s intranet. This simple act has a disproportionately positive impact on people, so the first step doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.


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