The Communication Style of Effective Leaders

Good communication is essential for effective leadership. Whatever talents you may bring into the organization, if you are not a good communicator you will struggle to get the loyalty of followers and achieve goals for the organization.

The winning communication style is assertive communication.

Assertive communication is a communication style that is built on mutual respect. Communicating assertively means that you speak up for yourself, while respecting the right of others to do the same. Being assertive demonstrates self-respect because you are willing to stand up for your rights and interests and express your thoughts and feelings. It also demonstrates that you are sensitive to the rights of others and willing to work constructively to reach a mutually agreeable outcome. (Carl Benedict)

As an assertive communicator you are not afraid to speak honestly with your followers while affording them the same opportunity because you respect them. Unlike the passive communicator who is focused only on the needs of others and the aggressive communicator who is focused only on their own needs, the assertive communicator has mutual interest in both personal needs and the needs of others.

Leaders who are assertive communicators do not have to insult, abuse, or demean others due to personal feelings of insecurity. They can stand up for their rights or their point of view and allow others to do the same while feeling good about who they are. They communicate with respect for others. They are aware that all persons are equally entitled to express themselves respectfully to one another.

Assertive communicators are good listeners. They listen well without interrupting. They ask questions for clarity, so they don’t assume they understand what others are communicating.  Because they hold others in the same respect, they have for themselves, they are good listeners.

They also have good eye contact and speak in a calm, clear tone of voice. They do not see the need to bully, shame or embarrass others. The insecure leader is one who is more likely to resort to putting others down so they can feel good about themselves while communicating.

Assertive communicators do not think in terms of winners and losers. They think in terms of win/win. They do not feel they must win at the expense of others. Even if their position is the opposite of another’s, they will take the time to come to a mutual understanding because they respect and value the other person.

They are in control of who they are and how they communicate with others. They do not allow others to control their response to any situation. Assertive communicators chose their response to the situation. They do not allow others to manipulate or abuse them. They are aware that they can’t control others, but they can control themselves.

Practicing assertive communication must be intentional. There is nothing habitual or unconscious about assertive communication. It must be intentional every time.

Our communication style is developed during our early childhood. But the good news is that if our childhood experience did not result in us becoming assertive communicators, becoming an assertive communicator can be learned.

While a lot can be said about the leader who practices the winning communication style of assertive communication, ultimately what the leader does is create a respectful environment in which others can grow and mature. The leader who practices this style of communication will win every time.

What is your style? If you struggle to be assertive, what one thing can you start doing today that will help you move in the direction of becoming an assertive communicator? Start with the next person you talk to.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.