How to Communicate Effectively as a Leader to Inspire Staff and Organizations to "Take Action Themselves"

Why Isn't Your Message Getting Across?

Communicating your thoughts, feelings, and company policies to your staff is one of the most significant roles of a leader. How the leader communicates can greatly influence the staff morale and the team’s performance. When conveying information, the content is important, but the "way of communication" is just as crucial. By devising the "way of communication," you can make a difference in how your message is received. For leaders who are struggling with getting their message across, let us introduce the solution and the secret to getting your staff to act as you intend.



The First Step to Effective Communication

  • Make the information appear necessary to the listener.

Human cells are equipped with receptors that act as information receivers. It is said that these receptors open only to the information they need when exchanging information between cells. If the receptors of the recipient's cells are not open, the information will not be transmitted. This applies to interpersonal communication as well. When the conveyed information is perceived as necessary, the receptor of the mind opens up, making it easy to "communicate." Start by highlighting the benefits for the recipient. Phrases like 'This could be useful for you' or 'I have an interesting story that might be relevant' can pique their interest and encourage them to be receptive."


  • Focus on key points.

When you have multiple things to convey, explaining all of them at once will overwhelm the listener with information, making it difficult for them to understand, and ultimately, nothing will be conveyed. When communicating, narrowing down to three key points makes it easier for the recipient to understand and remember. People can instantly remember three to five items. In psychology, this is called the "magical number four ± one," and many speakers and executives use it. Steve Jobs narrowed down the features of the iPhone to three during the initial presentation, elicited a response, which subsequently led to a worldwide hit.


  • Use photos, diagrams, and numbers

Adding visuals to instructions, such as photos and diagrams, can help boost understanding and minimizes misinterpretations. Just explaining things verbally can be tricky. Words like "tidy" have subjective meaning. One person's "tidy" might be another's cluttered mess. This can lead to confusion and tasks not being completed as intended. Here's how visuals help: Take the example of tidying desks. Show a photo of a clean and organized desk alongside your verbal instructions. Phrases like "Please tidy up like this" paired with a visual reference sets a clear expectation. By incorporating photos, diagrams, or other visuals, you bridge the gap between your desired outcome and how your staff interprets the instructions. This reduces errors and ensures everyone's on the same page.

Also, using "numbers" instead of vague words like "a little more" or "a little less" eliminates discrepancies in perception between staff members. By using numbers when giving instructions, the message is conveyed quickly and accurately.


  • Confirm that the message has been received.

Just because something has been conveyed once does not necessarily mean that all staff members have understood it. After conveying the message, it's necessary to confirm whether it has been understood. Even after you've conveyed a message, you might hear a chorus of "yes" when you ask if everyone understands. But a simple "yes" doesn't always reflect true comprehension.

The key to clear communication is confirmation. Instead of relying on a single "yes," encourage staff to summarize the information in their own words. Phrases like "Can you tell me back what you understood from this?" open the door for clarification and ensure your message lands as intended.

While it might seem like an extra step, this confirmation process is crucial for reliable communication. It allows you to identify any knowledge gaps and address them before misunderstandings lead to errors.




Name: Okamoto Fumihiro 

President of Mental Charge ISC Research Institute