Indeed, leadership development is critical in cultivating desirable business outcomes, even for workers who don’t immediately transition into leadership roles. Studies have found that workers who undergo leadership training increase overall job performance by 20%, show a 28% increase in leadership behaviors, and may generate an 8% increase in subordinate performance (if they have direct reports). One study even found an 88% increase in productivity after public sector managers went through executive coaching and leadership training!
But no leadership development program is complete without writing training.There’s an intimate relationship between the ability of the leader to communicate with others, including (and perhaps especially) through the written word, and their ability to generate the kinds of results these studies found. Here’s why.
1: Writing training improves leaders’ ability to express themselves clearly.“Being an effective manager requires strong communication skills, including writing,” writes Adam Bryant, a managing director of the ExCo Group, a senior-leadership development firm. He quotes Kip Tindell, cofounder of The Container Store, who said, “One of our foundational principles is that leadership and communication are the same thing. Communication is leadership.”
To that end, developing writing skills means learning to express oneself in a clear and impactful way. True leadership rests on the ability to be clear and compelling in communications – not just to explain their vision clearly but to use their words to get the reader truly excited and engaged.
2: Better writers are better able to represent the organization.Leaders represent the business in ways rank-and-file employees don’t. They are often the face and voice of the company to customers, peers, the media, and the public. If they can deftly express themselves in writing, they’ll portray the company in a good light. Their good writing itself will convey a sense of professionalism, expertise, and capability. Truly great writing can even implicitly cultivate a sense of trustworthiness and credibility.
3: Better writers foster success among their teams.One of a leader’s principal goals is to help those who work for them be more successful in their own roles. As mentioned, leadership development training can make a tangible difference here. Helping subordinates, however, also fundamentally requires good communication skills, which include an ability to express needs and ideas coherently, so that their teams know exactly what to do to be successful. It also means being able to write persuasively, to help sometimes skeptical employees share organizational objectives or priorities.
We could go on. Developing high-level writing skills will also help foster critical thinking skills because the latter is needed for the former. Many writing skills are also transferable, so cultivating these abilities can help in other areas too. In the end, good leadership and strong writing skills go hand-in-hand. Whenever you work to train and develop new leaders in your organization, make sure you include writing training in the mix.
Are you looking to strengthen your leaders’ professional writing? Explore our “Better Business Writing” course to find the training your team needs to become both expert writers and effective leaders.