Clear Writing—The Overlooked Key to Leadership Development

February 28, 2012 | By Diane Bailey-Boulet

A client recently recommended Peter Bregman’s book 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done (Grand Central Publishing). It helped me recharge and plan to make this year one of my best yet—both professionally and personally.


A common pitfall in leadership development

Bregman observes that as leaders leap into their new roles, the people around them don’t typically take the mental leap with them. He says, “the hard part is getting the people around the person to change their perceptions of him [or her], because once we form an opinion, we resist changing it.”


So what does writing have to do with this?

Writing reinforces and supports leaders’ ability to influence, inspire, and gain followers. Yet too often organizations overlook writing’s critical role in preparing leaders for success. When you look at the facts, it’s clear that writing really matters:

  1. Our clients report that more than 70% of decisions are made in writing.

  2. The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) states that leaders use e-mail 83% of the time to engage employees and foster productivity.

  3. A recent Accountemps survey concluded that “the ability to effectively convey a point verbally and in writing can be a key predictor of leadership potential."


Writing reflects your personal brand—give your leaders the strategic tools to succeed

Current and new leaders can reinforce their roles by using strategic writing techniques and the latest best practices. They should be equipped with a high-impact writing style that helps them successfully

  • analyze their audience’s concerns and interests

  • motivate and manage their teams

  • address challenging issues head on, rather than avoiding difficult news

  • write clearly with a professional, approachable tone.

Find areas where writing can support your goals as you consider ways to improve leadership effectiveness. Clear writing for a complex world® is more than a catchy phrase: it’s a powerful and practical strategy for success.