This week it’s all about LEADERSHIP. My Dad always had a sign on his desk that said, “LEAD, FOLLOW or GET OUT OF THE WAY.” It’s not quite clear who said this first, but we all need to know our role, right?

If you ever play the role of LEADER, this blog is for you. Read on to learn about:

  • the LEADERSHIP podcast
  • the #1 most important communication skill for leaders
  • 4 ways to advance your communication skills
  • leadership quotes

You can skim this blog or see the links for more information.

Let’s do this!


What is leadership? Leadership means motivating a group toward a common goal.  That’s it, really.  Seems simple enough, right?  Well, no.  If it was so easy, then CEOs wouldn’t be paid so much, and we wouldn’t see leadership catastrophes.

Meet executive coach Heather Stark.

leadership expert Heather Stark
Executive coach Heather Stark

Heather has over 25 years of experience in helping individuals and organizations navigate uncertainty and excel. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and she is a Certified Professional Coach, a member of the International Coaches Federation and the Founder & President of Stark Coaching. 

leadership quote heather stark

In this interview, Heather shares her expertise and advice on the following communication skills for leaders:

  • Authenticity & knowing yourself (self awareness and vulnerability
  • Being proactive (managing your energy, planning and preparing)
  • Being inclusive (being collaborative, connecting people, setting clear goals, articulating purpose)
  • Being intentional & mindful (being focused and engaged)
  • Being agile (having the ability to pivot)
  • and more!
leadership when hiking (Image unsplash @ jaysung)
(Image unsplash @ jaysung)
  THANK YOU, Heather!

The #1 Communication Skill?

I asked Heather at the very beginning of the interview, “what are some of the most important communication skills for leaders?”  Her answer? LISTENING.

FWIW, I agree 100%!
dog listening

(image: Unsplash @ roller1)

Heather added some valuable insights regarding listening:

➡️ Consider the STAGES or LEVELS of listening.

  • The first level is simple downloading, or passive listening, where we listen for what we already know.
  • The next level is listening with focused intent and empathy.  
  • The ultimate stage of listening is generative listening, listening with focused intent, empathy, and then collaborating. 

➡️ Effective listening means focusing on NUANCE and knowing what to a DISCOUNT.

  • Good listeners look beyond the words to focus on tone and body language.
  • A generic or default comment like ”I’m fine” is an example of something that good listeners will discount.
listening expert Norm Bacal
Author & legal veteran Norm Bacal on “Listening”

To learn more about LISTENING, check out this podcast episode where I interviewed author and legal veteran NORM BACAL, who shares several strategies for active listening, including:

  • the ideal mindset for listening,
  • how to engage in small talk
  • how narcissists are (sometimes) non-listeners


Great Leaders are Great LISTENERS!


(& Your Career as a Leader!)

military leadership
(Image unsplash @ lulusphotography)

1️⃣ Ask what specific communication skills are lacking

  • Ask your boss to what communication skills in particular you should work on.  Is it presentation skills? body language? knowing when and how to jump into conversations?
  • Ask for examples.

2️⃣ Formally ask for help

  • Ask your boss or your H.R. department for help to improve your communication skills.
  • It could be a mentor from inside your organization or an external coach (like Heather Stark).

3️⃣ Buddy-up with someone in your organization

  • Find someone that you respect and trust, probably at about your level and someone whom you interact with regularly.
  • Provide each other with feedback after meetings or other interactions.

4️⃣ Record yourself

  • In ZOOM meetings, just hit Record! When you’re giving a presentation, set up a video camera. In face-to-face meetings, record the audio. Then watch or listen to yourself. (No, it isn’t easy!)
  • Ensure you have consent to record from other attendees.
(Image unsplash @ maltwingen)
I can tell you from personal experience
that #4 will accelerate your learning curve!

? ? ? 


leadership quote sheryl sandberg

leadership quote Brian Tracy

leadership quote John Maxwell


I hope this week’s podcast helps you advance your leadership. Please let me know what you think. Email me anytime!

Heather Stark will be back for the next episode, where we will focus on the timely topic of CRISIS LEADERSHIP and LEADING VIRTUAL TEAMS.”

Until then – 

Have a great week and stay safe! 

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