Writing And The Leader
"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." Stephen King
"And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly." Deuteronomy 27:8
In today's fast-paced world, how you present yourself and your ideas in writing can have a powerful impression - both positive and negative. The ability of a leader to communicate well in writing is critical for superiors, boards, employees, and customers. Many leaders are ineffective at this necessary and essential skill. Nothing will dismiss your voice than a poorly written email, a counterproductive letter, defectively drafted post, or even unprepared speech that failed to recognize language or wording that hijacked the main point. Writing remains vital, and this will not change. The better we can articulate our ideas the better people will hear and the more effective we will be as we lead.
The benefits of writing to the leader
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One | Writing synthesizes random thinking
While there are many forms of communication today in our digital world, the written word still matters. Presidents and officials in countries around the globe communicate from written notes and teleprompters because every word matters. And it is in writing that we arrange our thoughts, words, ideas, and images into thoughtful patterns that people can hear, understand, and then act on it. While we think unprepared communication works more effectively a well-prepared communication is synthesized more effectively by us and others. There is not a time that slowing the mind by writing words out does not help us to build a message that we want to communicate more effectively.
Two | Writing reduces not complicates
Writing also helps to clarify often complex reasoning. It does take time and effort to do this, but when we write thoughts out we have to think about how people will read, hear, and interpret it. As we write, our mind often slows to clarify complications reduces them to essentials insights that are easy for people to understand. Organize thoughts and concepts is an inherent part of writing. Writing declutters so we can clarify for others.
Three | Writing values attention and does not waste it
With all the competing information that our teams, boards, and staff come across daily, it is easy to become confused and distracted - or let's say waste valuable time and attention. The value of a persons attention is not infinite. Each person we speak to has a limited amount of time, and their attention is valuable. Being concise, and not wasting their time with useless conversation, pointless email, and a time-sucking report is essential. We live in a day where content is no longer king, but rather precise content is king. When a leader comes along who can cut through the static, state with clarity a plan or concept, and simplify the complex, people listen and respond.
Four | Writing should be kept plain, not made complicated
Writing should always be plain. Clear in its content, easy to read, devoid of complicated words, and written so a modern reader can understand and know exactly what to do. To ensure that your writing is understandable, it is a good idea to have one or two people from a variety of angles preread communications and offer suggestions. Sentence fragments, vague words, subject and verb disagreement, misspellings, comma misuse, and big heady words can and will be a distraction. So keep it plain.
You will need to practice. And practice a lot. But the more you write, the better you lead.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.