The Most Effective Communication Method Great Leaders Use

Julie Fung

Julie Fung

Angela Merkel doll on phone

The Power of Talking

Angela Merkel was named Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2015. Germany’s first female chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union, Merkel marvels that a girl who grew up behind a walled fortress became the most powerful woman in the world—some even say the leader of the free world.

It was no easy journey. Merkel played a central role in negotiating the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. She was also considered “The Decider” during the European financial crisis.

How did she do it?

She talks.

For example, rather than getting into contentious debates over culture war issues, Merkel relies on her steadfast views and strong character as an advocate for climate change resolutions and sustainable solutions for the European Union.

It’s much, much better to talk to one another than about one another.

Be Brave & Honest

As Merkel suggests, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas. Be brave and speak out.

By communicating new ideas to your team, classmates, or coworkers, you're leaving room for growth and new connections. You form better relationships with those around you.

Honesty leads to a fulfilling and happy life.

In 2012, Notre Dam professors Anita E. Kelly and Lijuan Wang conducted an experiment on honesty. Over the course of 10 weeks, half of the participants were instructed to tell major and minor lies, while the control group was not given any instructions. The latter showed a strong link between less lying and improved health conditions compared to the lie-group.

As Benjamin Franklin said in a sentence well-suited for our social media age,

Honesty is the best policy.

You’ve likely heard this sage advice before. Honesty is about being true to yourself and authentic to those around you. As the experiment above shows, honesty is also beneficial to your health.

Making Change

It's important to strive for honesty in all facets of work and life. Here's why it matters:

  • You don't want to let grudges build. The next time you’re feeling out of it, communicate that with your manager or supervisor. It’s important to have a healthy work-life balance.
  • Embrace all of your ideas—good or bad. Only after expressing what's in your head can you continue to build upon or abandon them.
  • Set boundaries. What do you need to say “no” to? Don't hold back in fear. Otherwise, you'll never feel that you've expressed yourself. 
  • Spend time connecting with yourself. Take the mind-body connection seriously. Can you handle this next project or task? What do you need from yourself? What do you need from your team?

Always keep the words of Angela Merkel in mind. Talk to one another. Honesty is a strength.