Powerful explanation is key to leadership communications


I wanted to share this great post from the Harvard Blog.  It’s an excellent reminder of an important concept in leadership communications:  explanations, with details, are needed to persuade followers to share your enthusiasm.

John Baldoni writes, “Explanation is a key attribute of leadership communications. Leaders know to inject their communications with verve and enthusiasm as a means of persuasion, but they also need to include an explanation for the excitement. What does it mean and why are we doing it are critical questions that every leader must answer with straightforward explanations.”

The post describes three important steps:

  1. explaining the initiative and why it’s important
  2. defining what isn’t part of the initiative
  3. persuasive call to action.

I’d add that, like a good story, an explanation needs enough detail to really energize your team.  Rich detail is what grabs a reader or listener’s attention.  It’s why a story that starts “The red Porshe screeched up to the curb” is more intriguing to a reader than the one that starts “A car pulled up.

Read the full story

What do you think?  How do you use explanations and storytelling in leading your team?  Join the discussion!

Janet Altman is a Marketing Principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.

  1. This is an excellent article. I would add the following:

    It’s not only important to explain the “why” behind the communications, it’s also of the utmost importance to be sure that all employees understand the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).
    It may be something as candid as, when everyone makes this change or gets on board with this new process, we all keep our jobs because we stay in business. Don’t be afraid to honest and candid. If the news is grim, there is even a bigger need to be honest and candid. Glossing over the truth never works. Employees will figure out what is going on or make it up and their version is almost always worse than reality.

    I could not agree more that stories and examples for clarification are a powerful way to mitigate damages from miscommunication and are also a great way to get a point across.

    All leaders must learn to communicate their vision in a passionate and compelling way that motivates people to action. To do this, they must believe in their company and their vision and they must communicate the “pie in the sky” reward that will be realized when everyone is moving towards the common goal!

    Thanks for sharing this article.

    Debbie Zmorenski
    LSA Partners, Inc.

  2. Twitted by Wolf_Pinther says:

    […] This post was Twitted by Wolf_Pinther […]

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