September 10, 2018

Communicate effectively with the new language of leadership

It is common knowledge that we need to communicate effectively with others in order to coexist harmoniously. Whether it is at home or at work, effective communication is important to push business forward.

In business, you can see how the power of effective communication not only gives you and your people a clear direction, it is also a way to organise projects and motivate people. It is the very reason why people are able to work together.

It takes several elements to create better relationships, but I am focusing specifically on communication because I believe it is the gateway and the mid-point between understanding someone or being completely in the dark.

Basically, without some form of communication with one another, there’s no way you’ll be able to truly understand the other person. In fact, communication is even the key to understanding yourself better.

But here’s the problem: communicating with others is a big hassle and it can fail. It is time-consuming and can often lead you to a dead end. The purpose of meetings is to communicate, but in that communication there is still no guarantee that you’ll reach the goals.

As business leaders in this fast-moving world, quick and effective communication is important. You want to be able to say something to people that they will understand the same way you do. But it doesn’t work that way – we all see things differently.

As business leaders, you also have to make a decision between understanding and risking it for the sake of time. Truly understanding others is not just about getting to know them. It is opening your mind to the other person – as a human being with goals and motivations just like you.

So, how can you use the new language of leadership to effectively communicate with your people?

First, take into account the different perspectives. Everyone has their own experiences, assumptions, biases and points of view. The new language of leadership is all about understanding and it means understanding yourself too. This is the most important part. While trying to understand other people, you also need to understand yourself.

Now, why is this so important? We all see the world in our own way, shaped by our experiences. This means you don’t try to forget who you are, you use it adapt to different people in different situations. When you’re aware of your own biases – and this does take practice – you’ll be able to put it aside for that very moment so you can open your mind to the other person.

There’ll always be a chance of opposing ideas and this is something you cannot control. But what you can control in order to effectively communicate is to understand that everyone has their own way of thinking.

Second, listen more. It is not just about listening to respond, it is about listening to truly understand. Listening is part of the communication. And it is through listening that the new language of leadership comes to play. When you are truly listening, you’re trying to understand the other person better.

Third, adapt the way you communicate. It is not about changing yourself or the way you are; it is about reacting appropriately in the moment. We often believe we know what is best for the other person. We make assumptions based on our own experiences. This is why it is critical that we understand that others may not see things the way we do.

When we assume and fall into our biases, we react on them. Imagine discussing something with someone whose personality you don’t like. Because of your bias towards their personality, your reactions will definitely lean towards disagreeing with everything this person has to say.

Fourth, practise and be consistent. Remember learning something for the first time? Whether it was learning to ride a bike, play a musical instrument, or even learning a new language, you were most likely told to practise so you can master it. Learning the new language of leadership works the same way. You must practise in order to strengthen it.

As business leaders, you know the importance of effective communication. To effectively communicate and push success, it is important that we try to understand others. And to understand others, you must learn to speak the new language of leadership.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre.  She can be reached by email at arinya\ or

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