Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

—William Butler Yeats

For a leader, communication is connection and inspiration—not just transmission of information. Communication is critical for building alignment and executing strategy. Yet it is often one of the most challenging leadership skills because it is so easy to say, but not so easy to do. Effective communication is far more than a one-way street that starts with the leader. Communication is the leader’s “information highway”; it flows freely in both directions and in every circumstance—in good times and, especially, in challenging ones.

Whether spoken or written, and spanning both words and actions, the message must always convey both your ...

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