“We have very clearly outlined the benefits of our new strategy and way of working at our annual meeting. There were also no questions or reactions after the presentation and, yet, there is still great resistance to implementing and executing it. In some departments, it has not even been implemented at all…”.

In our leadership development programs, we hear again and again that communication does not achieve the desired effect, even though managers supposedly communicate clearly.

What is the reason for this? And what can leaders do differently so that their communication is more likely to have the desired effect?

First, it is helpful to think of organizations as complex systems. A complex system differs from a deterministic system (if A then B) because it responds to certain stimuli in unpredictable ways (if A then B, C, D, or something else entirely). Therefore, to learn about the organization’s behavior and responses, and to make communication more effective, multiple rounds of exchange are needed.

People working in an organization can therefore only influence it indirectly through targeted interventions in an attempt to achieve the desired effect. Communication is one of the most important, if not the most important, leadership interventions. So, let’s take a closer look at communication as a targeted leadership intervention.

What to be aware of to make communication even more effective

Sociologist Stefan Titschner and psychologist Kurt Lewin, among others, have thought extensively about what it takes for communication to be connective. Titschner describes this in a simple formula:

The impact of an intervention (Iw) on the organization depends on the quality (Q) of the intervention and its connectivity (A). Iw = Q x A

But how can I increase the quality and connectivity of my communication? What other sub-factors should I pay attention to? The following questions can help you increase the impact of your intervention:

The power of conscious communication

We ask ourselves many of these questions subconsciously. We use our answers to adapt our communication to the situation and the group. However, consciously asking ourselves these questions before important leadership interventions can significantly increase the effectiveness of communication.

How much attention do you pay to your meetings?

Leadership interventions can happen in different communication formats – from employee interviews to town hall meetings. One of the most common is probably meetings with your employees. To get a sense of how important this communication format is and how much attention you pay to developing it, we invite you to reflect on the following questions:

  • How much of your working time do you spend in meetings with your employees?
  • How much influence do these meetings have on the direction and motivation of your employees? Why so little or so much?
  • How much time do you invest in rethinking these meetings and making them more effective?

Whether it’s conversations with employees, conflict resolution, feedback sessions or policy meetings, town hall meetings, conferences, or large group events, our leadership development programs take a closer look at different methods and tools that help make communication more effective.