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Language of Leaders: How Top CEOs Communicate to Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results

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The Language of Leaders presents an insight into how leadership has been transformed in the digital age. Now that modern CEOs have to lead in glass houses, facing constant scrutiny, criticism and challenge, how have they responded to these demands? 

In personal interviews with 50 different leaders Kevin Murray probes how they listen, how they respond, how they have learned to be more focused on relationships, inside and outside their organizations, and how they use ...

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The Language of Leaders: How Top CEOs Communicate to Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results

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Overview

The Language of Leaders presents an insight into how leadership has been transformed in the digital age. Now that modern CEOs have to lead in glass houses, facing constant scrutiny, criticism and challenge, how have they responded to these demands? 

In personal interviews with 50 different leaders Kevin Murray probes how they listen, how they respond, how they have learned to be more focused on relationships, inside and outside their organizations, and how they use communication to build trust -- the essential pre-requisite of leadership. 

The featured CEOs head high-profile global organizations, including The Red Cross and GlaxoSmithKline, and candidly talk about how they have risen to the challenge of inspiring, influencing and achieving great results.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Language of Leaders is a ‘must read’ for anyone in a leadership position or with aspirations to lead…a book of real value to managers at all levels…It will focus readers on the key areas they need to think about and develop to become fluent in the language of leaders – a language that is indispensable to any leader in today’s increasingly fast moving, complex and transparent world." —IEDP

Praise for the previous edition:

"The radical transparency of a fast changing digital world means there has never been a more critical time for business leaders to be more inspiring communicators...the book examines how leaders must now communicate in order to inspire, influence and achieve results...[and] presents a rare insight into the leadership demands of the modern age." —Chime Communications

"The Language of Leaders explains why leadership has changed and why communication matters, largely in the context of multiple channels for communication, the digital age, the requirement for transparency and the fact that communication can now be instant...This book has lots of stories and anecdotes...illustrating the concepts and principles of leadership. In short, Murray has followed the novelist creed of show, don't tell." —Elizabeth Harrin

"Murray offers an especially crisp and concise description of inspiring leaders who make us want to achieve more." —Robert Morris

"Mr. Murray has offered up far more than he promised. In an easy to read story-telling fashion, the author sticks to his main topic…he identifies the critical issues leaders should be communicating and why…The book comes together beautifully in a well written exposé of the importance of leadership."
—John Bell, CEO Afterlife

"When it comes to stories, Murray really practices what he preaches, using great quotes and stories to make his points." —Jeff Porro, Tough Talk for Hard Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749463960
  • Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Murray is the Chairman of Bell Pottinger, one of the UK's leading PR agencies, and was previously the Director of Communications for British Airways. He is a former national newspaper journalist, magazine publisher and marketing director.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: communicate to inspire 1

Part 1 Why you need to be a better communicator if you want to lead 7

01 Napoleon's leadership legacy 9

The shots that echo through time 9

'Create leaders everywhere!' 10

The importance of understanding the commander's intent 11

Communication is the glue that binds strategy and delivery together 12

Keep it simple 13

Free people up with a tight framework 14

Stand up for what you believe in 14

Key points from Chapter 1 16

02 Leadership transformed - life in the fishbowl 17

Perpetual communication 17

The questions that really matter 19

The new partnership driving transparency 21

Stories evolve at an incredible pace 23

Internal e-mails can be very public 24

Most leadership communication is not fit for purpose 25

Businesses are like open democracies 26

Leaders must create leaders 26

Radical transparency needs radical thinking 27

Key points from Chapter 2 29

03 The 12 principles of leadership communication 30

Be yourself, better 31

Mission and values 31

Future focus 32

Bring the outside in 32

Engage through conversations 33

Audience centricity 33

Listening 33

Point of view 34

Stories and anecdotes 34

Signals 35

Prepare properly for public platforms 35

Learn, rehearse, review, improve 35

Part 2 The fundamentals 37

04 Learn to be yourself, better 39

What followers want from leaders 40

What do leaders want from the leaders they hire? 41

Talking from the heart 42

Be visible, be human and be straight 44

To be seen as a hero, you have to be a hero 46

All-round authenticity 47

Have the confidence to be you 48

Know your strengths to be yourself better 49

How do you go about identifying your values and mission? 50

A springboard to action, a leadership platform 51

The need for emotion in business 52

Key points from Chapter 4 54

05 Provide a framework for leadership and action, through mission and values 55

Values build trust 58

Why people love a motivating mission 59

Employees want a good mission statement 61

Employees need to feel part of the story 62

The need to raise people's sights 62

Externally, a purpose wider than profit is needed 63

Be an engine of progress for humankind 64

Involve everyone in your mission 66

Reputations at risk 67

The need for speed and the need to create leaders 68

Three examples of mission and values at work 69

Make sure the values resonate 72

The value of values 73

Key points from Chapter 5 74

06 Communicate the future to drive the present 75

To talk about the future, you have to be very clear about the future 76

Back to the future, over and over 77

Keep people engaged in the future 78

Your future must embrace all stakeholders 79

Four examples of how leaders bring mission, values, vision and goals together 79

Bring to life the customer's experience 84

Key points from Chapter 6 85

07 Bring the outside in and focus on building relationships and trust 86

Loss of your 'licence to operate' 88

Managing the intangible asset of relationships 88

The virtuous circle in relationships 90

The real value of trust 90

Watch out for the reputation gap 91

The three dimensions of trust 92

Why leaders need to inject more character into their communication 92

The health warning on building trust 93

How to unlock the value in relationships 94

Tuning in to the court of public opinion 95

Get your hands dirty 96

If need be, actually bring the client in 97

The customer experience brings the vision alive 97

How to develop quivering antennae 98

But what do I do with the insights? 98

Key points from Chapter 7 99

08 Engage and align through conversations 100

What is an engaged employee? 101

Myth: 'People are our only asset' 102

Engagement at the heart of strategy 102

Choice, not change 103

The ingredients of engagement 104

Measure and monitor engagement 105

Input equals buy-in 106

Don't dominate the conversation 107

If communication is so important, where is the training? 108

Key points from Chapter 8 109

Part 3 Communicate, communicate, communicate 111

09 It's all about them - the need for audience centricity 113

It's not what you say; it's what they hear 114

What do you want them to think, feel and do? 115

Don't change the message; change the way you deliver it 116

How audience centricity helped to establish Canary Wharf 117

The story of the privy 118

How to think about your audience 119

Key points from Chapter 9 120

10 The inspiring effect of listening leaders 121

Be interested, be respectful and be patient 122

What stops effective listening? 124

Listen with your eyes, ears and heart 124

Listen for solutions 125

Why leaders should be passionate about bad news 126

Leaders can listen in different ways 127

When you listen, you must respond 128

The killer questions leaders should ask 129

Good listening + a bias to action = results 130

Key points from Chapter 10 131

11 Stand up to stand out - why you need a point of view 132

Using a point of view to take a stand 134

Why you need an answer that works instantly 135

The corrosive effect of not taking a stand 136

What makes a good point of view? 136

Key points from Chapter 11 137

12 The power of stories 139

Stories tell us great truths 140

Logic gets to the brain, stories get to the heart 141

The four types of business stories 142

Good stories are easy to find and easy to tell 146

Choosing the right story 147

One simple story can achieve more than a volume of rules 148

Key points from Chapter 12 149

13 Watch out for the undermining signals beyond the words 151

It's written on your face 152

People watch your body language too 153

When being visible is the message 155

Model the behaviours you want 156

The meaning between the lines 156

Symbolic acts send lasting messages 157

Speaking off the cuff 157

Key points from Chapter 13 158

14 Prepare properly for public platforms 160

Get the right training and do the right preparation 162

Remember, every word counts 163

Simple messages repeated often 164

Top tips for dealing with the media 165

The essence of good presentations and speeches 166

Communicating in a crisis 168

And what about the web and social media and Twitter and…? 172

Key points from Chapter 14 173

Part 4 Conclusion 175

15 Learn, rehearse, review, improve; become fluent in the language of leaders 177

A top-three skill of leadership, yet sadly neglected 179

Strive to be an excellent communicator, and you will improve results 180

The language of leaders 182

16 If you remember nothing else… 182

Meet the leaders interviewed for this book 187

Thanks 222

Index 223

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