Why Communication is Important for Successful Leadership

a red lock with three wooden people

Learning Communication from a Leadership Perspective

There are a few business skills that everyone needs. But effective communication is just one of the skills that set apart leaders. Learning leadership from a communication perspective is often a crucial step in any person’s success.

Becoming the Masters in Communication and Leadership
Masters in communication and leadership strive to build a successful foundation for their clients and workers. With that in mind, first we should outline what that foundation looks like.

Building the Foundation
Any good communicator is born out of a good communication plan. The first step in your plan should be building an excellent foundation. To do this, we should identify a few rules to establish a baseline for interaction with your peers.

Good communication should never be one-sided. The best communicators regulate the flow of conversation to make sure all sides are represented in the discussion. If you feel that someone’s voice is underrepresented, make sure to steer the conversation in their direction. You should also make sure that, during communication efforts, you take the necessary steps to minimize interruption and distraction.

Why Good Communication Skills are Important
The word ‘communication’ itself is used constantly. But have you ever stopped to ask why? Buzzwords can often be overused, but this one has proven to be an exception to the rule. These reasons are proof that communication deserves all the hype.

First, teams thrive on communication. Any breakdowns occurring in your business can cause loss of time and resources, cost your business, and even radically alter production timelines.

Second, any great leader should recognize that communication happens in all forms. To improve your relationships with your team, you’ll need to learn how to read each medium. During your next performance self-assessment, you should gauge your ability to read things like body language, gestures, tone, and inflection. Also, make sure to touch up on how people communicate digitally, given the ever-changing landscape of the modern office.

Common Mistakes
As you’re learning leadership from a communication perspective, you may want to avoid three common mistakes during interactions.

• Language: Make sure that you are using language effectively. You’ve heard that the pen is mightier than the sword, but we assert that your voice is leaps and bounds more effective than both. When addressing your peers, make sure that you are careful and deliberate with your words
• Tone: We’ve all been in a situation where a negative tone has been levied our way. We encourage masters in communication and leadership to keep a positive tone. This way any interaction you have is not upsetting for anyone involved. Instead, you are a well-oiled machine simply working out a few rusty gears.
• Listening to Respond: The next time you are about to respond to someone, stop and ask yourself if you’ve really thought through what they just said. It’s easy to catch yourself simply listening to respond instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing: communicating. Take a little extra time to parse out what someone is saying, so you can have an appropriate and productive response.

The Next Steps in Your Leadership Communication Plan

You’re on the road to becoming a better leader. Now there are just a few more things we encourage you to work on soon.

For one, learn to adapt your style to the situation and group surrounding you. this will play a key part in making sure that no hiccups in communication occur. Next, be sure to emphasize and improve your listening. No one will mind if you take a few extra minutes to really think about what’s being said. If anything, they’ll respect you more for taking matters seriously. Finally, learn to empathize and understand the mindset of your teams. A great leader not only listens, but also understands where the speaker is coming from and what emotions they are feeling.

With these tips, you can’t go wrong and are on the fast track to becoming the best version of yourself.

Honest to Greatness: Lead with Honesty

Brass scales and a brass lamp on a desk with a man in a suit in the background

In today’s world, all consumers are hyper-aware of everything. It is challenging to get ahead by lying, exaggerating, or conning, unlike fifty years ago. People have the ability to look-up and fact-check everything you do. So, one of the best things a leader or CEO can do for their business is to be completely honest and transparent. Peter Kozodoy explains the importance of having brutal honesty in his book, “Honest to Greatness: How Today’s Greatest Leaders Use Brutal Honesty to Achieve Massive Success.” Throughout the book, he uses examples from interviews with Domino’s, Sprint, and Quicken Loans leaders to show how crucial honesty truly is in the business world.

There are many tactics Kozodoy explores in his book that benefit all workplaces, like how to retain the best customers, attract the best talent, have a phenomenal culture, have respect from your team, and unlock personal fulfillment by setting the right goals. When we use honesty in the workplace, everyone knows what to expect from us. It can be complicated to lead an ethically and socially responsible business, but you can achieve that goal by being honest.

When you lead with honesty, you will propel your company forward to reach success. Work culture is so essential for any business, and the culture is set upon the organization’s values and beliefs. If you are an honest leader, you curate a culture for that to continue and empower your team. Having a workplace ran on integrity and being trustworthy has been linked to employee job satisfaction and engagement.

As a leader, you can also attract customers who stay just by being honest. We often hear about the importance of brand or customer loyalty, which is created by being a trustworthy business that people want to return to or repeatedly buy their products. To build that loyalty, be transparent about your process. Only do things that you are willing to share with others. If you try to hide something, people will find out about it, whether it be through Google or social media. If you are transparent, people will respect your organization.

Being an openly honest person and leader takes time. However, as Kozodoy points out, it can have many benefits to your business. So, get yourself a copy of the book and learn more about being a better leader that does not have any room for questioning. Lead yourself to greatness by being honest. If you need further direction on your leadership skills, contact us today.

Pivot Your Business Successfully During Times of Crisis

When COVID-19 hit and temporarily closed businesses across the country, many leaders were unsure of where to go next. While many were able to re-open doors, many states are being forced to shut down again as cases rise. With such uncertainty of what is around the corner, it is essential to understand how to pivot your business to meet your needs. 

When thinking of how to change your business, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, you are not alone. Many businesses have successfully pivoted and have documented their success. Below are three steps that business leaders have utilized in their time of change.

Accept that Pivoting is Essential 

Businesses have to pivot their processes and goals every day, not just in a crisis. According to Small Business Chronicles, “The world is changing every day: the population is changing, customer trends are changing, technology is changing and the economy is changing.” As a leader, you have to accept that change is inevitable and be ready for the changes to come your way, even when we aren’t in a pandemic. After accepting this fact, change will become easier to manage.

Be Okay with Remote Working and Being Online

One of the most important things a business can do is accept and fully embrace the remote work setting. As a leader, you need to understand that your employees are also going through a rough time. From plans being canceled, not seeing loved ones, and having limited access to childcare, many things are changing in their lives. Be flexible in the remote workspace, and show your workers that you care. Embracing the online work environment can increase employee productivity even while at home. 

If it’s possible for your business, now is the perfect time to transfer services to an online setting. Many leaders have wanted to advertise more products online, and now is the ideal time to make the switch. Making your products more readily available can positively impact your business even when your doors are closed.

Don’t Rush

Pivoting can be hard, and pivots often need investment, time, and critical thinking to implement. Talk through your ideas for pivoting your business with people you respect as leaders. Getting advice, taking time, and carefully planning your pivot ideas are essential to successfully rolling out any new business ideas.

There are many important resources that business leaders can utilize right now, including our services. We can connect you with other business leaders who are facing small and large business changes to stay afloat during the pandemic. Visit our website today https://ceosolution.net/

3 Personality Traits that Make for a Successful CEO

Natural leader is only part of the job description for a CEO. In fact, there are numerous elements that go into becoming a successful CEO. There is no blueprint for what makes a successful CEO, but there are key personality traits that make CEOs stand out and more successful than others. 


In short, empathy is taking the time to show your employees that you appreciate them. Employees who work in an environment that fosters a safe space for feedback and recognizes achievements are more likely to produce higher-quality work. CEOs can spur growth within the company by simply providing employees with a sense of purpose and valuing their contributions and ideas.


As a CEO, there’s constant pressure to be perfect. Yet, a CEO who shows humility and takes responsibility for their mistakes is more admired by their staff. By providing this example of their employees, CEOs set an expectation of transparency in their offices. Employees will begin to speak up when they come across problems sooner because they’re not worried about punishment for their shortcomings and understand that management will help find a conducive solution for all.


Not only does innovation fuel companies towards huge breakthroughs and success, it also sparks creativity and change. Vision is important in every level of the organization. CEOs who encourage employees to share their feedback and creative contributions also endorse that change is welcome. This cultivates new ideas for the organization to pursue to find more success. 

CEOs who embrace their humility, vision and empathy are more likely to be held in high regard by their employees and encourage them to work hard in a company where they feel valued and understood.

Leadership Weaknesses

Nobody is perfect. We all have weaknesses of our own. Leaders aren’t exempt; even if they are great leaders, they may have areas that they need to work on. Being a strong leader means you recognize these weaknesses and work to improve upon them; self-evaluation and self-improvement is crucial. Here are some of the top weaknesses found in leaders today.


Not Setting Clear Expectations

If you aren’t clear in your instructions, your employees will feel both confused and frustrated. Murky expectations will send employees in multiple directions and they won’t be able to stay on track. It can also be a waste of time and profit killer if employees are prioritizing projects they shouldn’t be because your expectations aren’t clear. 


Never Taking a Break

Everyone needs to unplug. Leaders are notorious for being workaholics that are constantly connected to their phones. Sure, it allows you to respond to customers and staff members quickly, buy you’re never turning your brain off. You may begin to adopt an omnipresent leadership approach. There’s also the risk of never feeling like you’re doing enough, especially if you do decide to take a weekend or night off from email. You may also get so caught up in the small details you forget about the larger picture.


Wanting to be Liked by Employees

Sure, everyone wants to be liked, but how much do you focus on that? Far too often, leaders desire to be everyone’s favorite boss so much that it clouds their decision-making skills. Sometimes, important decisions for the business will upset people, and you have to accept that. You can’t always be in everyone’s good favor. Sometimes simply explaining the reason you made an unpopular decision is enough to keep your employees satisfied.


Little or No Trust in Employees

If you don’t trust your employees, it shows, and it will create a not-so-great environment for everyone. One of the not-so-obvious ways that a leader can demonstrate this is by micromanaging projects or taking on all the work themselves. Leaders may not trust their employees to perform, so they just overwork themselves and refrain from giving them information on certain projects. Lack of trust can get even more serious if leaders choose to express that mistrust to other employees in the form of gossip or other negative statements.


Do you feel like you exhibit some of these traits? It might be time to join a peer leadership group to offer a safe outlet to discuss these fears and weaknesses!


Insurance for your Investment to Avoid the 5th Year Fail

Key Reasons CEO’s fail and lose your money…

With more companies failing in the 5th year than in the 1st, according to the SBA, one must wonder why? They have sales, cash flow, market, and things seem to be working. So why such a failure rate at 5 years?

As an investor this must be a concern as its around the 5th year that one expects to see a return on the funds invested.

Over the past 40 years of working with business start-ups, growth companies and mature companies, we have seen many of the issues that could cause the 5th year statistics. Here are some of the major ones an investor, CEO and Founder must look out for.

1.       The art of planning or the lack thereof. It is amazing how many in leadership roles do not utilize the most basic of planning in their operations. With a “wild west” reactionary approach, chaos and poor performance become the norm. There is awareness something is not right, but without a plan to measure against, the cause is lost in the chaos.

Even when there is a Strategic Plan in place, is it tossed in the drawer and only reviewed after the fact? Such Strategic Plans should be the central focus of the leadership team, even when there are only three people in the company. Weekly if not Monthly reviews should occur on a scheduled basis. This keeps the organization focused and provides a measurement and warning when they have wondered off Track. Loss of focus equals loss of profit.

2.       I cannot count the times we have found the CEO/Founder being the biggest choke point in a growth business.  Nothing can move without their input or directive. This inability to “let go” or not delegate stops great people with potential and often causes them to seek other opportunities. Now your losing human capital and that is expensive.

Many managers struggle with the “letting go” yet once overcome, the manager becomes a great leader, which is different. Most people are not natural born delegators because its more than just giving out tasks! It is about communicating outcomes, coaching for performance, providing tools and skills, monitoring and making tough choices along the way. All of this can be developed if the CEO/Founder is open to it. Now the company has unlimited potential.

3.       The ability to make decisions, act on those decisions and then modify as needed is one of the most valuable capabilities of a CEO of a fast growth company. Yet many Founders are not yet tested in this capacity. When the complexity grows, the Founders capability comes into full light. Hopefully they can learn, demonstrate and develop the decision, act, modify ability.  

4.       If the CEO/Founder is high functioning in the first three areas, the “Right Team” tends to take care of itself. Yet one key issue that continually comes up is “The team that got you here may not be the one getting you there.” Many new leaders have issues when it comes to change in the leadership team, not because their bad people on the team, just not the right ones for the company at this time.  

This is where building “bench strength”, “transferring tribal knowledge”, and “culling the team” come into play. This takes vision, strategy, planning, communications and leadership for the company to grow and be profitable. It also takes time, effort and patience to become this type of leader. But this drives high profit and long-term stability.

5.       The “loneliest seat in the room” is often used to describe the CEO seat. The ability to express one’s ideas with full confidence is not always available to most Founders. The bank, attorney, CPA all have their agendas. The leadership team kind of understands, but not really. Besides, who can one trust?

This is why the CEO peer to peer concept is so powerful. When we ask a CEO who they really trust and take their input to heart, it is another CEO! Having the ability to confidentially address their business and personal concerns can propel an ok CEO to an awesome CEO as we have experienced it many times. Often, all five of these issues can be addressed on an ongoing basis for the CEO through a peer group.

We hope this gives you the investor, insight into how to ensure your investment is staged for a great ROI. It begins and ends with the capability of the CEO/Founder. What is your strategy for assuring your CEO’s are at their peak and maximizing your investment return?

For more on CEO Peer opportunities, visit www.CEOSolution.net

Why Business Coaching is Important

Being a CEO or leader in your business isn’t easy; having a business mentor and peers that you can turn to for advice is of the utmost importance. You’ll build confidence, understand your business better, and have a safe place to discuss your fears and weaknesses with like-minded individuals. The combination of a peer group and a business coach will keep you on track.


If you aren’t involved in a peer group or meeting with a business coach or mentor, you may feel a little misguided. You might feel lonely, misunderstood, frustrated, or overly stressed. This is understandable. If you don’t have anyone to talk to regarding running the business (because talking to staff members about business fears and weaknesses is inappropriate), you might not be leading as effectively as you could be. A peer group will surround you with like-minded individuals who have likely already experienced what you’re going through; a business coach will help guide you onto the right path and navigate tricky business situations. 


A business coach goes beyond simply allowing you to vent your frustrations; they will help you find your audience and frame your business. Too often, as leaders we do the work of our business, but we don’t work on our business. A business coach will keep you focused on your business, too. That includes helping you frame your business in the best way to target your audience. They’ll guide you to target and market to the proper people. They’ll constantly push you to meet your goals—whether it comes to personal development or business achievements.


Failure is an important part of growing as a leader. Unfortunately, it isn’t always very easy to admit your faults. As a leader or CEO, you may not even see your weaknesses. While a CEO peer group will help you see that you aren’t alone, a business coach will help you see through your blind spots. Getting to the heart of these weaknesses, targeting them, and working on them will make you both a better person and a stronger leader.


Are you interested in joining a CEO peer group or working with a business coach? Let’s talk!


How to Make Stress Work for You

Stress is never a fun or easy thing to deal with. Some stress can be good for you; it motivates you to work harder and reach for your goals. But too much stress will keep you up at night, force you to overthink, and may even lead to health problems. There’s a common misconception that leaders are predisposed to deal with stress more effectively than the rest of the population. That is simply not true. Instead, they are able to make stress work for them instead of against them.


Think of a stressful time in your life. Whether it was an exam or a job interview, how did you get through it? The way we deal with stress is so often what leads to success. And leaders are very good under pressure. They maintain a sense of realistic optimism. Sure, they might recognize that the situation isn’t ideal, but they also don’t go into a shame spiral. They know that things go wrong, but they also recognize that they can deal with any setbacks and learn valuable lessons on the way.


When facing a fight-or-flight response, choosing to fight is what will bring about the best response when it comes to the stress of leadership. Leaders stay calm and fearless in tough situations, seeing them as a temporary setback, not a permanent obstacle. In a stressful situation, do you focus on the present hectic moment, or do you think about the long-term goal? Leaders constantly have the company’s goals in mind, and they deal with every stressful moment keeping that in mind. They focus on the tasks that matter, rather than wasting time on pointless details or dramatic moments.


Reflection is crucial when it comes to stress relief. Leaders feel less pressure when they take some time to step away from the situation to assess and determine the best solution. Stepping away from the stress allows leaders valuable time to find the clarity they need. They might exercise, or they might take some time to practice self-care. Either way, they understand the value of balance and stepping away from a situation when it’s become too much.


Leaders are professionals at managing stress and preparing for the unexpected. Addressing stress, limiting it when you can, and making it work for you are the keys to success.


Fostering a Positive Company Culture

You hear the word’s company and culture placed together quite frequently, but what does it really mean? You can think of culture as the glue that binds the company together, with the CEO being at the center of it. Company culture is increasingly important to millennials as they begin to graduate college. Let’s talk about company culture, why it’s critical for success, and why it’s up to the CEO to set the tone.


It isn’t just about perks, though fancy lunches out are nice. Perks won’t grow the business. Company culture is really about the everyday environment that CEOs provide for their team. Embracing the same vision and company values, employees should be thriving and growing, not competing and underperforming. The idea is that when a team truly comes together, customers will notice and the business will grow.


At the base level, addressing company culture means the CEO needs to address the company’s values, standards, and organization. The CEO should lead by example, consistently demonstrating company values. What does it take for someone to be successful in the company? When new people join the team, they will look to others as an example. What behavior is encouraged and rewarded? What behavior is punished? This sets a tone for the company. It also comes down to the talent that is hired and encouraged to grow with the company. Unqualified team members, or those that simply don’t fit the vision for the company, are going to negatively influence company culture.


CEOs need to stop and listen and watch. What are employees saying and how are they behaving? If CEOs take the time to listen, they will understand when employees are struggling with a project or feeling overwhelmed by their workload. Open dialogue means employees should feel comfortable talking to the CEO, because they know he or she is the one who will take action to fix it. If the company is large or it simply isn’t possible for each person to talk the CEO, an employee satisfaction survey should be made available. An overworked, overwhelmed team will not grow, and it’s up to the CEO to address that.


Collaboration is crucial and should be encouraged. Consider a game where teams are pitted against one another. If there are only 2 strong people on the team and they carry the bulk of the responsibility, they will easily be overpowered by another team that works together more effectively. Employees want to belong on a team—not compete with one another. The team atmosphere will increase motivation, innovation, and job satisfaction.


Fostering a positive company culture takes time, effort, and commitment, but it’s the right step for your business if you’re hoping to be innovative and successful in the long-term.



How to Balance Family Expectations with the Stress of Being a Leader

You have to be at work at 8:00 AM. The kids have to be at school at 8:15 AM. There’s soccer practice right after school, and the kids are ready to be picked up at 4:15 PM, but you have a crucial meeting with an investor at 4:30 PM. Daycare is expensive, and sometimes you and your spouse have conflicting schedules. You simply don’t always have enough time during the day. As a result, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working all night. You never get the chance to fully unwind, and you might not be fully present with your family, either. Let’s discuss how to balance family expectations with the stress of being a leader.


Meticulously Plan

Plan out your work day and your home life to a T. Lay out your schedule in advance so you can prioritize what you do and don’t have time to complete.


Rely on Your Staff

Many times, CEOs struggle with delegating tasks to their staff—whether it’s fear that it won’t be completed properly or they feel the need to be in charge of everything. Your staff is competent and employed to help you, so let them. Letting go of some control will be freeing, and it’ll allow you to enjoy more time with your family.


Determine What’s Important

Sometimes it comes down to choosing to be a parent or choosing to be a leader. You may need to make that decision each day. Both your family and work life are fulfilling, so sometimes you need to decide what activity in the moment is most important. You might feel guilty sometimes, but move on; sometimes you miss things, and that’s okay.


Avoid Burnout

Many think that burnout stems from being overworked, and it might, but resent also plays a role. What makes you resentful about your current position? What do you feel as if you are constantly giving up? Figure that out, and eliminate the resentful activities.


Work from Home

Working from home a few days a week may allow you to balance work and family life a little better. However, make sure you have a set quitting time, rather than working all night. You should avoid working nights and weekends at all costs if you can.  


Integration vs. Balance

Many leaders encourage the idea of integration vs. balance when it comes to work and family life. They advise that it isn’t a matter of choosing one or the other, but incorporating both into your life by maximizing your time wherever you are. Fully engage and work hard to complete tasks efficiently so you can spend the rest of your time with your family.


Schedule Personal Time

There’s a reason they say “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Self-care is important. You will struggle to be a good parent and strong leader without first making sure you are well taken care of. Get adequate rest, follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and schedule time for yourself to complete the activities that make you happy. 



Choosing family will set an example for other people. You might miss some business events, but you won’t miss your son’s high school graduation or moving your daughter into her college dorm room, and that’s what truly matters.