Monday, August 29, 2011

Characteristics of a Good Communications Leader

Our vice president of communications here at GM recently shared some info on the characteristics of a good communications leaders. These are based on recently updated results from a survey of 300 top communications leaders conducted by Heidrick & Struggles.

  • Understands all functions within the communications mix (and those aligned to it), including internal/external communications, marketing communications, financial communications, new media, public affairs, investor relations, philanthropy and community relations.
  • Can integrate these functions, even if not directly responsible for them all, into a comprehensive communications strategy.
  • Knows the organization’s key stakeholders and how to engage with them.
  • Appreciates the power of the growing base of “unofficial stakeholders” who use new media to reach mass audiences with their own content and interpretations.
  • Serves as a trusted advisor and counselor to the leadership team.
  • Places a high priority on Reputation Management.
  • Works to ensure that the organization’s actions and decisions flow from authentic values and are guided by ethical standards.
  • Is capable of helping to shape and lead organizational transformation.
  • Has the instincts and experience to create, redefine and/or leverage a brand.
  • Mobilizes employees to embrace and embody the brand.
  • Has the courage to face up to difficult situations and to present bad news.
  • Has strong fundamental skills as a thinker, writer and speaker.
  • Inspires his/her team by creating a sense of purpose and expanding their skills.
  • Balances discipline (planning/measuring) with agility (handling the unexpected).
  • Can navigate in complex, global environments.
  • Forges strong relationships and builds a network of good allies.
  • Knows the business.
  • Listens.