The Power of Conversation is often known to be a super power for leaders. We often hear about heads of state communicating effectively during negotiation of tough issues. But – the Power of Conversation is also a great strength that everyday leaders possess. With a little practice, any leader can tap into the Power of Conversation.

When you are in a leadership position, others are looking to you for direction. How much communication is too much and how much is too little? Is there ever a formula that works to determine how much to communicate? There is no tried and true formula that could simplify this, however, I can give you a framework to help you think through this and be more effective in your communication.

There are all types of conversations during your career. Each one demands a different approach to be effective. Here are some examples:

  1. Communication regarding how to get something done in a very specific way
  2. Communication of the end game without the “how” you expect them to achieve the outcome
  3. Communication of difficult messages that will probably not be well received

As the leader, you can tap into the appropriate leadership style for the issue at hand, however, WHAT you communicate is just as important as HOW you communicate.


If you want to become a communication “ninja,” you will have to dig a little deeper to make your communication more purposeful, more planned, and more customized to those you will be addressing. Here are some key points in this “power of communication” framework:

  1. Ensure you properly identify the audience for your communication
    • Leaving out an important stakeholder can have unintended consequences and could sabotage your efforts.
  2. Balance the importance of the issue with your preparation for the communication.
    • If the issue is crucial to your business, take the time to prepare for the communication properly.
  3. Consider your communication tone to ensure it matches the issue at hand
    • If there is an issue with a significant negative implication, don’t diminish the impact by adopting a lighter tone. The converse is also true.
  4. Ensure consistency in availability for follow-up after you communicate
    • Those you communicate with need to know where to go if and when they have questions.
  5. Make sure you are communicating even when there is nothing that needs business attention
    • Developing strong relationships and loyalty are dependent on making others feel like they matter.

I’d like to spend a little bit more time on this last point – “Make sure you are communicating even when there is nothing that needs business attention.” This is always a balance between getting too personal with those you lead and maintaining the distance you need to manage them effectively. Small companies and field divisions almost always experience this challenge.

Here are some ideas that can help:

  1. Show your employees you are interested in them as people, not just as employees.
    • Ask how their weekend went, how the children are doing, show interest in their hobbies
  2. Make the separation very clear between business and personal interaction
    • You can end personal interaction conversations with phrases like, “Ok, time to turn our focus to (whatever the business imperative at hand may be…..)”
  3. Be clear regarding how you intend to evaluate requests for time off, any special requests regarding workload or deadlines, etc.
    • Make sure you are clear that your role is to put the business needs first and personal needs second. You do not want your employees to believe they will receive preferential treatment just because they have shared some details of their personal life with you.


Conversation is such an important part of communication. We can write and deliver memos all day, but when we have a one-on-one conversation, it can really change the dynamic. 

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How do you want to be seen as a leader? The Power of Conversation can be a significant point of differentiation between one leader and another. If you aspire to be viewed as a powerful and effective leader, mastering the Power of Conversation is definitely something you should prioritize. If you aspire to bring your leadership skills to the next level, you should consider focus in this area. 

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When you are transparent, you operate from a truthful, open place that is aligned with what you need others to know in order to gain their commitment. To be transparent doesn’t mean you have to “tell all at any cost”. It does mean that you should be willing to share truth from a place of knowledge, compassion and understanding. When your team understands the “why”, they are more likely to get on the train with you.

My ability to be transparent has become one of my strengths. I used to think that keeping things close to the vest served to protect those who worked for me.  I didn’t want them to feel the pain and discomfort of the difficult decisions we had to make or the the difficult things we often had to do to grow the business.

At the end of the day, if you are a leader in charge of other leaders, you can handle anything and so can they. They will respect your transparency.  It will make them feel like you have pulled them “into the tent”. When their direct reports ask them questions, they can shape the message with the truth as they understand it.


  1. Practice being more transparent.
    • Don’t apologize for the truth – allow yourself to shape your messages in a way that increases understanding.
  2. Find ways to be a transparent leader – every day.
    • Make sure you understand your own “why” and can translate that to others.
  3. If you sense a disconnect within your team regarding their direction, don’t ignore it.
    • Learn to pick up the clues and tackle the issues right away.
  4. Practice the right level of transparency for any particular situation.
    • You may not want to share your own deepest feelings, but give your people enough of you to enhance their understanding of the task at hand. 
  5. See your transparency as a new skill. 
    • Illustrate your ability to be transparent and use it to motivate others.


When you commit to transparency in your leadership you will find that you close information voids that had been felt by your people previously. It is a fact that when employees don’t have an understanding of their “why”, they fill in the blanks with their own information. This can be quite destructive in your company environment and can lead to chaos and lack of accomplishment.

Wouldn’t it be great if your people had the proper information, delivered in the right way, to make them even more committed to achieving the results you need?

This is what transparency in your leadership can do for you.


I hope you will try some of these techniques. I’ve done my best to share my suggestions on enhancing your transparency and I hope you will pay it forward by motivating your own people in a different way. 

If you are interested in learning more, you can download a free chapter of my book. In this download, I give you a glimpse of my authentic self – the one that has bolstered my own strength. You can download a copy using the form below. 

Keep in touch and let me know if this resonated with you.  I want my Leadership Series to hit the points that you need in your own personal and professional development.

To your Success,