15 Surprising Stats on Communication (Communication Part 1)

The 15 must-know statistics shared may surprise you, particularly if you’re a leader (and we all are). Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • The percentage of leaders who are succeeding at communication
  • Why many modern leaders are failing (what are the root causes)
  • What is the impact on teams and people (why it matters)? Hint: retention.
  • How have struggling leaders responded when confronted by facts?
  • The best solutions to be an effective communicator and leader

How many leaders succeed at communication?

In a study of over 8,000 private and public sector employees, virtually all said they are effective listeners. Studies show, however, that most are not. In a recent Interact/Harris Poll of 1,000 employees, 91% said their leaders lack critical communication skills. Additionally, 31% of employees say their leaders lack empathy and don’t show interest in their direct reports.

Why are modern leaders failing?

Respondents to the Harris survey said the communication issues that impair effective leadership are as follows:

  • Not recognizing employee achievements — 63 percent of respondents
  • Not giving clear directions — 57 percent
  • Not having time to meet with employees — 52 percent
  • Refusing to talk to “subordinates” — 51 percent
  • Taking credit for others’ ideas — 47 percent
  • Not offering constructive criticism — 39 percent
  • Not knowing employees’ names — 36 percent
  • Refusing to talk to people on the phone/in person — 34 percent
  • Not asking about employees’ lives outside of work — 23 percent

What is the Impact?

Studies say that 86% of employees and executives cite the lack of effective collaboration and communication as the main causes for workplace failures, poor productivity, conflict, and turnover.

On the other hand, effective communication increases employee retention by 4.5 times. Moreover, 52% of employees say they stay in a job because they feel valued and supported and listened to (engaged). Engaged employees are also 17% more productive than their peers.

What do “failing” leaders say when confronted?

Communication experts have reported the following interesting responses from leaders when presenting them with feedback and counsel:

  • “It’s not me, it’s them – they don’t engage and lack communication skills.”
  • “These listening and communication techniques don’t work for me.”
  • “These communication techniques slow down the conversation and waste time.”
  • “I don’t have time to be a confidante and meaningfully engage with my direct reports.”

The solution?

Learn to effectively manage time and do what matters most. Recall, 52% of employees reported bosses “not having time” as “the cause of failed communication,” while being “too busy” or “wasting time” was a leading excuse by leaders. Do you see the disconnect? Pre-week planning allows leaders and teams to prioritize communication, people, and be available for each other. Leaders must prioritize time for communication and for people.

Live the Golden Rule. Be kind, respectful, and thoughtful. The small acts of learning a person’s name, asking about family and hobbies, simply talking with them, asking for feedback, and recognizing their achievements creates engagement, trust, and connection.

Be Accountable. Take ownership and responsibility for your communication skills, your team’s communication skills, your culture, your relationships, and your results.

Gain and Apply Knowledge. Conduct an anonymous survey (gain knowledge) and get data on communication and trust within your team. Thank your team for the feedback and ask for their ideas to improve. Share with them what you’ve learned and what you’ll change (apply the knowledge).

Be True to Character and Build Trust. Do what you say you’re going to do and be true to your character. Be worthy of trust and trust your people.

Practicing these principles then is the starting point to effective communication. Why? Because they create a foundation from which you can then connect, engage, and practice the finer skills of listening and communication. Those skills are the topic of the next two newsletters.

This blog is the first of a three-part series on communication that will revamp, revive, and rebuild your communication skills. Click here to read Part 2. Click here to read Part 3.

Communication is one of the most important skills you require for a successful life.” – Catherine Pulsipher

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Leadership Development: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders

Do What Matters Most: The #1 Time-Management and Productivity Solution

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