The Instrument of Leadership

Jun 22, 2020

An excerpt from John Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork


John W. Gardner observed, “If I had to name a single all-purpose instrument of leaders, it would be communication.” Perhaps you are familiar with my books on leadership; then you know that I believe everything rises and falls on leadership. What I haven’t mentioned before is that leadership rises and falls on communication.

If you lead your team, give yourself these standards to live by as you communicate to your people:

  1. Be consistent. Nothing frustrates team members more than leaders who can’t make up their minds. One of the things that won the team over to Gordon Bethune when he was at Continental was the consistency of his communication. His employees always knew they could depend on him and what he said.
  2. Be clear. Your team cannot execute if the members don’t know what you want. Don’t try to dazzle anyone with your intelligence, impress people with your straightforwardness.
  3. Be courteous. Everyone deserves to be shown respect, no matter what the position or what kind of history you might have with him. By being courteous to your people, you set the tone for the entire organization.

Never forget that because you are the leader, your communication sets the tone for the interaction among your people. Teams always reflect their leaders. And never forget that good communication is never one-way. It should not be top-down or dictatorial. The best leaders listen, invite, and then encourage participation.


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