The multi-faceted communicator
It’s been over a week now but, thanks to the snow derailing my plans this week, I’ve finally had chance to ponder the recent CIPR Inside session on leadership communication and to scribble down some rambling thoughts…
Rather than reviewing the event and covering the main themes that were discussed – something done far more effectively by my committee colleague Scott McKenzie of Hill & Knowlton (you can access his summary via the CIPR Inside group page on Facebook) – I want to touch on one of the key things that jumped out for me – namely the multifaceted and diverse nature of our roles and the fact that, as communication professionals, we are expected to be so many things to many people.
Here’s what I mean…
- Communicator as matchmaker – building relationships across the organisation, connecting individuals and teams, sparking conversations
- Communicator as politician – building consensus amongst diverse board members, circumventing the org chart, oiling the wheels
- Communicator as educator – building employee understanding and appreciation of business issues and challenges, organisational performance, etc
- Communicator as listener – developing feedback channels, building champion networks, conducting research, tuning into the grapevine
- Communicator as facilitator – getting the most out of a dysfunctional group, making forums work
- Communicator as fixer – responding to employee questions and suggestions, making life easier for the CEO by making things happen, taking action, doing stuff
- Communicator as bridge-builder – linking leadership to employees, making the top team accessible, breaking down barriers between teams and functions
- Communicator as coach – being a trusted advisor, helping leaders and managers communicate more effectively (and appropriately), telling it like it is
- Communicator as fire fighter – dealing with assorted crises, tackling issues, cleaning up the mess when everything goes wrong
- Communicator as conscience – encouraging people to tell the truth, championing transparency, fighting spin, living values, being ethical
- Communicator as artist – coming up with innovative, creative concepts and campaigns, delivering ‘beautiful’ communications
- Communicator as business person /all rounder- understanding how the organisation works, being able to understand the financial statement and turn it into plain English
- Communicator as know-it-all – being able to answer any employee question on any topic, knowing how to deal with those obscure calls that the people on reception don’t know how to handle
I’m sure you can add to the list….but you can see where I’m heading with this. And don’t tell me, this sounds just like your job description!?
No wonder it’s so difficult to find great internal communicators – we’re basically looking for super heroes.