The Five Messages Leaders Must Manage

by John Hamm

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW why so many organizations sink into chaos, look no further than their leaders’ mouths. Leadership, at any level, certainly isn’t easy—but unclear, vague, roller-coaster pronouncements make many top managers’ jobs infinitely more difficult than they need to be. Leaders frequently espouse dozens of cliché-infused declarations such as “Let’s focus on the key priorities this quarter,” “Customers come first,” or “We need a full-court press in engineering this month.” Over and over again, they present grand, overarching—yet fuzzy—notions of where they think the company is going. Too often, they assume everyone shares the same definitions of broad terms like vision, loyalty, accountability, ...

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