Communication Habits for Successful Leader

Communication Habits for Successful Leader

Presidential speechwriter James Humes said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” He is credited, in part, for writing the plaque placed on the moon during the Apollo 11 landing communicating peace to the entire universe. Telling all of the galaxies that we come in peace is a powerful statement, but how can we be successful leaders here on earth through our communication habits? Women in particular  who tend to excel at relationship building can learn how to harness those communication skills into the language of leadership.

According to famed business writer Steven Covey, there are “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” from the title of his best selling book. Let’s take a look at all seven of his strategies:

The first three communication habits deal with moving from dependence to independence

The art of communication is the language of leadership.


Take the initiative in life and realize that your decisions are the primary factor for effectiveness in your life. Further, take responsibility for your own actions and any consequences that follow. A successful leader is one who learns from past mistakes and pushes into the future with confidence.


Clarify and discover your unique character values and life goals. Use these to envision your various roles and relationships in life. Once you have your end game in sight, think about the steps you need to take to get there. How much time and resources will it require to meet your goals? Always plan ahead.


Covey also claims that habit number-two is the mental creation preparing for number-three, which is the physical creation. Here he says that a manager must first manage himself before he can oversee others. After all, if you’re not entirely sure what you’re supposed to be doing, how can you expect others to trust you enough to follow? Delegate tasks efficiently.

The next three communication habits examine the concept of interdependence or working well with others


You value and respect people when you understand that a win for all is better than a resolution, where only one person gets their way. Think of multiple solutions that will benefit everyone involved, including yourself.


One of the greatest traits that a successful leader can have is to be able to engage their audience. According to 3Plus International, the best way to engage with your audience is to involve them as much as possible. By asking open-ended questions and focusing on your listeners, you’ll be more successful in bridging the communication gap between the speaker and the audience.


Combine the different strengths of people together through teamwork to achieve goals that no one person could have accomplished alone. Make sure to value every view and assess each person’s strengths, and maintain balance between individual and group needs, and praise the group for what you want to see more of. A successful leader is skilled at focusing on the value of both individual and common needs in order to maintain a well-functioning group.

The last addresses the need for continuous improvement


Renew your resources, energy and health to create a sustainable, long-term and effective lifestyle. Being a leader means challenging yourself in ways that no one else will.

In the last topic, although Covey was addressing the need for remaining both physically and mentally healthy, it may be more important to perceive the necessity of being current with the times in Renewing Your Resources. Even though this book was first written in 1989, it still maintains its positions as a top seller in the motivational self-help category.

Although the internet was invented around the same time as Covey released this book, the first website was not published until 1991. I think we can all agree that communication has changed drastically with the popularity of social media online, yet Covey’s principles still apply, but with the need for continuous improvement. This need for re-examination should include a good look at embracing the use of social media platforms.

Along with Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy, social media and I got off to a very rocky start. Personally, I have privacy issues that I likely inherited from my father, a stark conservative who believed that Big Brother was always watching. Although I do not share this paranoia, I was still apprehensive about posting aspects about my personal life online.

Dunn and I are not alone, when in 2013 an astounding 68% of Fortune 500 executive CEOs had no presence on any social media platforms whatsoever. Of those that do network socially, only 19% engage with profiles on two or more sites. The numbers dip even lower for users with three or more platforms.

Being a leader means challenging yourself in ways that no one else will.

Thankfully, Dunn and I have come around to embrace the importance of using the power of social media connections. If for nothing else for the sake of appearance, after all how does it look when the CEO of one of the largest sellers of electronics is not engaging in their use, especially online?

Customers are already posting conversations about your products and services online using social media regardless of whether the companies that they are discussing are there to see them.

Other leaders and Fortune 500 executives should heed not only the older advice of Mr. Covey but the newer words of Brian Dunn who said, “I am going to deepen my relationship with customers and employees and deepen the conversation that goes on where they are.”

And they are online.


About Megan Ritter

Megan M. Ritter is an online business journalist, entrepreneur and tech enthusiast in Southern California. In addition to researching the importance of communications in business and leadership, her writing also covers virtual technology, social media, and business globalization.