The communications industry is no different than any other when it comes to the necessity and relevance of leadership.
It’s what internal clients are looking for, and it’s also the unique space where communicators can provide real value to the organizations they serve.
While the value of leadership can often be invisible (after all, it doesn’t have a communications “product” attached to it), it can be tracked through its three core elements :
Integrating : Communicators are regularly tasked with synthesizing content and ideas, packaging the value our organizations offer, and making sense of what otherwise might be an incomprehensible mash up of projects, initiatives and results achieved across our business. Integration is showcased in things like coherent messaging in an annual report, or audience-centric messaging for a website that connects with key stakeholders.
Mediating : As communicators, we are on the front lines in bringing disparate parts of an organization, or of a group of stakeholders together and on the same page. While this is often a challenge, it’s also an opportunity for us to effect leadership. In fact, communicators are often the only ones who can actually get this kind of job done.
Coaching : Communicators are regularly called upon to provide strategic counsel and coaching on sensitive issues for colleagues and executive clients. This may be done formally (through things like media training), but more often than not is much more subtle. It’s reviewing a difficult piece of correspondence, or providing insight and feedback on an issue in a quick email or conversation.
Whatever type of leadership role you play in your organization, make sure it’s included in your definition of value. It’s these critical, yet often invisible contributions you make in areas such as integrating, mediating, and coaching that helps you reach rock star status as a communicator.
And let’s face it – if you don’t recognize and communicate the real value of what you do, who else is going to do it for you?