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Moved to tears: The power of authentic communication in leadership

Mar 6, 2024 | Communication, Leadership

Have you ever witnessed a moment so raw and genuine it brought the room to a standstill? I’m talking about the kind of authenticity in leadership that can move you to tears, break down walls, and forge connections stronger than steel. It’s these moments, steeped in vulnerability, that underscore a truth many leaders shy away from: the incredible power of authentic communication.

When I was a young leader, I avoided vulnerability like the plague. I didn’t want anyone to see the cracks in my foundation, so I kept everything on the surface. The problem though was a staff that felt disconnected from me. 

Vulnerability: The Unsung Hero of Leadership

The journey of authentic communication often begins with a leader’s willingness to be vulnerable. It’s about peeling back the armor to reveal the human beneath the role. This isn’t about airing dirty laundry or oversharing. It’s about admitting you don’t have all the answers, sharing personal stories of failure and growth, and showing that it’s okay to be imperfect. Vulnerability is the glue that binds leader and team, transforming “me versus them” into “us.”

Listening: The Silent Strength

Authentic communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. It’s the art of truly hearing—beyond words. It’s about understanding the hopes, fears, and dreams of those you lead. This type of listening builds a bridge of empathy and shows your team that they’re seen and valued. It’s the difference between a team that feels like they’re working for you and a team that knows they’re working with you.

Honesty: The Best Policy

Honesty in leadership fosters trust and respect. This doesn’t mean bluntly delivering harsh truths without consideration. It’s about being transparent with your intentions, decisions, and the reasons behind them. When leaders communicate with honesty, they lay the foundation for a culture where everyone feels safe to speak their truth. It’s a ripple effect that encourages openness and fosters a sense of belonging.

Emotional Intelligence: The Secret Weapon

Emotionally intelligent leaders understand the power of their words and the impact they have. They navigate conversations with a keen awareness of emotional cues, responding with empathy and compassion. This level of attunement allows leaders to connect on a deeper level, turning simple exchanges into moments of meaningful engagement.

Action: Speaking Louder Than Words

Authentic communication isn’t just about what we say; it’s about what we do. It’s leading by example, following through on promises, and showing that your words are not just spoken but lived. This congruence between words and actions is what cements a leader’s credibility and earns the unwavering loyalty of their team.

The Transformative Power of Authentic Communication

When leaders embrace authentic communication, they unlock a level of connection and engagement that’s unparalleled. Teams rally not just behind a vision but a person. Challenges become shared quests rather than burdens. And the workplace transforms from a space of transaction to one of transformation.

In the end, authentic communication in leadership isn’t about being moved to tears; it’s about moving forward together, bonded by trust, inspired by vulnerability, and driven by a shared purpose.


There’s a better leader inside all of us.

Hi, I’m James Robbins and i’ts my life’s work to help leaders reach their highest potential. Click below to get free tools and resources to help you become the leader everyone wants to follow.

About James Robbins

James is a rare mix of management consultant, change specialist, adventurer and motivational speaker. He speaks to audiences worldwide, helping them raise their performance to match their potential. He has been helping equip and transform leaders for over 20 years.

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