You and I, and all leaders have to strive to speak tactfully. Leadership, communication, and tactfulness should go together. Surely, it won’t come easy but it has to be. Whether one is holding a public office or heading a private group, one’s leadership always comes with the need to communicate effectively, and speaking effectively comes with speaking tactfully. Communication is a leadership tool that must be used properly.
Thought leaders say that communication is the response you get. In other words, the effectiveness of communication is determined by the feedback received. A leader failed to communicate if he did not receive the response he is expecting. Leaders are then challenged to get clear with the way they communicate. Leaders need to communicate tactfully. This comes with speaking the right words at the right time. It is in knowing what to say and what not to say. It is in knowing when to say it and when not to say it.
An elected public official, for example, has to reconsider the way he talks. He has to be more sensitive and considerate of what is coming out of his mouth. He has to show regard and respect to himself, to the position, and to the people. Having been elected to the highest office of the land does not erase his responsibility to be a tactful communicator; he is rather put into a position where he should be very responsible with his communication. He has to be reminded that he is the highest political leader of the land and what he says matters a lot. The interpretation of ‘when he is joking or not’ should not be left unclear – open to different interpretations of the world. The context he is operating should be made clear by him. He should not assume that people across the land and the world understand his very unique perspective on things. The burden of proof on how his language would be interpreted rests upon him. If the listener missed out on his point, perhaps, he (the communicating leader) needs to get clearer in his way of communication.
A leader, who is often a public communicator, has to be more selective of the words he use and be more cautious of his language. If he is to succeed, he has to be more tactful, respectful, and sensible in his communication. He owes it to himself, to the position, and to the people. He has to remember that his position, a public office, is a public trust. And part of upholding that trust is talking with tactfulness.
It is not a matter of his style or tactic anymore. It is now about him as a person and as a leader. It is now about leadership and accountability. It is now about the nation and the people who put him into power. It is now about his success and our collective success as a country. It is now about the goodness that he has been bestowed in the beginning that may have been drowned somewhere sometime in the false conceptions of what a man, a politician, or a leader has to be. It is now about him being a real man!
Surely, speaking with tactfulness is a challenge. But it is something that he, you and I, as leaders should not just shrug off but rather strive to practice. For, as leaders, this shall help us in fulfilling our roles with accountability, respect and sensibility.
(Chris Dao-anis/CPA, as an author and speakers, helps aspiring and young professionals become better communicators and leaders. His first book ‘The Gift of the Ordinary’ is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City and in Central Bookstores in Cebu and Metro Manila. For other resources, visit www.chrispoweracademy.com. For talks, seminars or speech coaching, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)