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Effective Leadership Communication Strategies: What Makes a Powerful Leader?

It's a delicate balance between being powerful and arrogant. When it comes to style, the behaviors are very similar. And as soon as the scale tips to becoming known as arrogant, it can be a huge turn off. To become a successful leader, you must learn effective leadership communication strategies to grow your followers, not turn them away.

Effective leadership communication strategies

The more consistently we express ourselves using the same markers, the more distinctive our style becomes. When a colleague gives the impression of being arrogant, for example, it’s most likely because they use a small set of powerful behaviors consistently.

If you know your leadership style heavily leans in one direction, begin to experiment with markers to try to move toward a more-blended style. As a start, pick one verbal and one nonverbal marker and find a way to use both during an interaction. As you experiment, some markers will be easy to adopt, but others may feel contrived—and that’s OK. Emulating the style of others, or flexing your own in new ways, creates a broader range for yourself and does not make you inauthentic; it means you’re growing as a leader. Successful leaders are true to who they are while continually making small adjustments in how they carry themselves, how they communicate, and how they interact depending on the circumstances.

Consider in advance how you want to be seen in a given situation and then choose markers that reinforce that style. If you want to be seen as a trusted adviser, lean attractive. If you want to be seen as a respected adversary, use the most powerful markers.

In our research and consulting, we have seen that style is a significant differentiating factor in the reputation and career success of leaders. A true blended style enables leaders to become powerful enough to be heard and attractive enough to be followed.

Are you a powerful leader?

Take our Quiz.

*The quiz is based on the research conducted by Suzanne J. Peterson, Robin Abramson, and R.K. Stutman, and shared in the Harvard Business Review article, “How to Develop Your Leadership Style: Concrete Advice for a Squishy Challenge.”

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." – John Quincy Adams


Do you want to learn more effective leadership communication strategies to help you accelerate you career? Join our monthly coaching program to work on your leadership communication skills. The program includes a weekly group class, a weekly group coaching call, two private coaching sessions, and access to our Vault of recorded lessons and workbooks. Learn more here.

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