A few days ago, Robert Half Management Resources released the results of their latest survey. They asked employees what skill their managers lacked. The results were overwhelming!

The #1 skill that managers lack — by a long shot — is communication. Their direct reports felt that they didn’t communicate effectively, with diplomacy, often enough, you name it. It was ranked #1 with 30% of employees listing it as a needs-improvement area. The next skill in line had only 18% of the votes!

This is alarming, seeing that managers and leaders are pivotal in communicating the vision and mission of a business. As part of their basic job function, they need to be able to express ideas, get their employees’ buy in, move them onto their platform, and get them to work forward for that common goal. How can they do this if they are not communicating effectively?

The study goes on to list 5 ways that leaders can improve their communication skills. They are as follows:

  1. Request feedback
  2. Find a role model
  3. Go outside your comfort zone
  4. Practice active listening
  5. Be Yourself

And while these are great tips, they are missing the one I consider most important: KNOW THYSELF!

Our communication often times is like sitting in your car, window closed, and speaking to the person in the car next to you, whose window is also closed. The windows are usually clouded with our emotions, introverted/extroverted tendencies, and stress of whatever is going on in our day — and it blurs our perception of what is being communicated. It is a perfect recipe for miscommunication.

So much of our miscommunication is due to our perceptions. The way we react to people, the way we perceive they react to us, the way we fine tune our communication to certain individuals — it is because of what’s going on in our internal mind. Our emotional state and the stress we are feeling, more times than not, has a greater impact on the way we communicate.

Just like in the car example, what we THINK we are communicating can come across very differently to those to whom we are communicating. What we THINK or PERCEIVE we are reacting to can be very different from what actually is.

I train my clients to get to know their inner world. To understand their communication preferences, their emotional state, their energetic state, and to always keep that in mind when communicating. Master yourself, and you clear one of the windows. You make it easier to communicate.

Beat the statistics! Be one of the leaders who excels at communication! Be Fearless!

Originally published at medium.com