Reading the room

Effective communication is essential to leadership, requiring those in charge to take a more flexible approach when it comes to delivering their message.

Several years ago, Deedee Myers, Ph.D.—CEO of CUESolutions Silver provider DDJ Myers Ltd., a Phoenix-based firm providing executive search/recruitment, strategic organization and leadership consulting services—looked at her company’s placement data. She discovered that candidates with outstanding adaptive communication skills generally earned more than those with the most desirable degrees but whose communication skills were “subpar.”

When you consider how essential communication is to leadership, this outcome isn’t surprising. And integral to this skill is the ability to adapt, or flex, the communication to the audience or situation.

“The effective leader is consistently reading the room and the mood and being open to what communication style will work,” says Myers. “It’s the leader’s responsibility to engage in such a way that he or she is heard by the listener.

“A tough learning lesson is to assume that you’re the leader and that everyone had to adapt to you,” she adds. “Imagine a line of cars driving down the road and the lead car is driving so fast that those in the cars behind her are eating her dust and can no longer find the way.”


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