CIO Insight recently published an intriguing set of tips on leadership by Stanford professor Bob Sutton, all associated with the importance of "commanding the room." Sutton's conclusion: If you can't walk into a meeting looking and acting like you're in control - even if you don't feel it - you've lost the confidence of those who need to follow your lead. This is tough news for lots of leaders who snagged the brass ring based on their superb individual contributions. Now they need to get that stellar performance through others. Maybe that's why all seven of Sutton's tips support the importance of effective communication as a core competency of leadership. This should come as no surprise to CCOs who've developed the kind of relationship with their organizations' leaders that encourage them to connect with and inspire employees - even if that kind of behavior doesn't come naturally.

Here are two useful findings that bolster the case for leadership communication, especially among new managers who have yet to face the career limits of marginal communication skills:

  • Communication is one of 10 characteristics vital to successful managers. And, as managers with poor communication skills move up in their organizations, they often find that their other strengths become inconsequential if they don't improve their communication skills. (From a study conducted by Mark Yessian, PhD and former editor of the New England Journal of Human Services.)
  • For a company with a market value of $14 billion, an engaged workforce represents an increase in market value of 1.7 percent, which equates to $230 million. (Watson Wyatt, 2008).

Until new research contradicts the important link between the medium and the message, CCOs will continue to get those opportunities to help leaders lead with confidence. Our organizations are depending on it.