In a hyper-connected world, one can no longer just put messaging out there. Once a message is pushed out, control of it is lost, and an adversary can and will subvert and shatter it into myriad distortions that ricochet back and hurt the sender. Likewise, any actions on the ground contradicting the messaging, will also be used to attack the sender aiming to erode public faith at home by exploiting hypocrisy, creating ambiguity and, ideally, disrupting decision-making.
In the military, human interactions carry tactical and even strategic significance. Whether leading a team, planning with a staff, or partnering with a foreign force, so much of our success hinges on our ability to communicate, understand, learn and grow with others. Yet the messages we send to others with our actions and words are often lost in translation.
Leadership is demanding, and effective communication is critical for any military leader. Clear writing and speaking helps them to build and maintain personal relationships. It enables them to run effective organizations, whether in combat or on staff. It allows them to connect task with purpose to turn organizations into teams, whether squadrons, battalions, platoons, or military staffs. In a joint environment at the highest levels of government, crisp communication is necessary to present best military advice to civilian leadership.
Leadership communication is not about that perfectly phrased order, in the heat of crisis that will perfectly convey your intent and meaning. Leadership communication is about building a relationship with your subordinates, peers, and your own leaders, over time, so that when the crisis comes, they already know your intent, phrasing, and meaning and can correctly interpret the note you dashed off to them in the heat of the moment. Communication, just like physical fitness, is something that you must exercise regularly to be prepared when you need it most.