Healthy Leaders


3 Common Ways Leaders Miscommunicate

Eric GeigerEric Geiger

Great leaders are always great communicators, but not always great speakers. Great leaders may not excel with a microphone, but they are able to communicate what is valued and what direction is being taken. Communication and leadership are intertwined and deeply connected. When leaders fumble in execution, culture formation, or rallying a team, the fumble is often in communication. Leadership mistakes are often synonymous with communication mistakes. Execution problems are often synonymous with lapses in communication. Here are three major communication struggles leaders should seek to avoid:

  1. Under-communication

With the plethora of messages people hear, it is very difficult to over-communicate and extremely easy to under-communicate. Unless you are tired of communicating essential beliefs, vision, and direction, you have not even come close to communicating enough. When people on a leader’s team are unclear about what is important or where the team is headed, communication is underwhelming them.

  1. Contradictory communication

While under-communication leaves a team unclear, contradictory communication leaves them frustrated. Contradictory communication occurs when leaders communicate messages that are actually opposed to one another.

Here are a few examples from church life:

  1. Misaligned communication

Misaligned communication happens when the language doesn’t match the reality, and it causes people to shrug at the language. When actions are not aligned to values, people don’t trust the values. When leaders say one thing and live differently, people don’t trust the leaders. 

Communicate the important things over and over again. If they are really important, and only declared to be so, communication that is contradictory won’t be tolerated. Then comes the hard work of aligning actions and decision-making to what has been heralded.

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Eric Geiger