In our recent Sequel Presents… A Coffee With, she joined Nick Andrews to discuss leadership roles, the changing role of leaders and how, as comms professionals, we can help them deliver their messages in a clear and authentic way.
“Everyone is having to update their comms skills in a hybrid world. No leader is 100% perfect at this and so it is vital, as an internal communicator, to build relationships and trust from the outset and work with leaders to launch themselves as a team and as individuals in the business,” says Anna.
“Top-down communication where leadership teams hold all the answers is gone but some basics still apply, including how you hold the attention of the room and the Zoom, human psychology, the need to focus on the audience and the message, and doing it all in an authentic way.”
Anna’s advice is to get to know your leaders and build their trust so you can appropriately challenge and feed back on what serves them well and what doesn’t.
“We did this through bite-size training in communicating, the language of leadership and rhetorical techniques, not to mention firing difficult questions at them as if it was a town hall so they could answer authentically.
Today, leaders need to be purpose driven but with a focus on their own self development and vulnerability, says Anna.
“All around us are examples of poor leadership and it’s clear that leaders now and in the future need to empathise with their people who are juggling such complex private lives. Future leadership, more than ever, is about being tuned in to your key audience – and that’s the people who work for you.”
Don’t hide from the difficult leaders or the difficult stuff. Lean in, get to know them, and pick your battles.
What you need them to know and do – before you get stuck into comms channels and strategy – forget that at your peril.
You can’t win all the battles so choose carefully. When you win the trust of your leaders then you can advise them that there might be a better alternative.
Never push a leader into that room or on that call without thinking how you would like to be treated. Prepare them as much as possible, then it’s up to them.