NEW ORLEANS — True leaders have some very clearly defined qualities, and one of the most important is being a good communicator, Harold Lloyd, consultant, author and former supermarket retailer, told his audience at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's 2008 Seminar & Expo here earlier this month.
He quickly pointed out that good communicators aren't usually born that way. They develop their skills.
Good communication entails much more than just the words spoken, Lloyd said. In fact, he said, 50% of communication is made up of body language, 40% is tone of voice, and only 10% is made up of the words spoken. And being a good listener is part of it, he said.
Another important element of a leader is the ability to develop others in their jobs, and good communication is required in that endeavor.
“If you don't develop that associate, he or she will leave and get developed somewhere else, maybe by a competitor,” Lloyd said.
“Among other things, that leaves you with an empty position to fill, which means you'll have to work harder. If you develop an employee and he's promoted within your company, that's good for the company.”
Lloyd challenged supermarket upper management to come up with an incentive system that rewards managers for developing employees.
“If you hire a headhunter, it can cost a quarter of the first year's salary, so isn't it worth a bonus or even a pin or a plaque in recognition of the manager's achievement?”
Lloyd described other elements of a true leader that are outlined and described in his newly published book, “Am I the Leader I Need to Be?”
The leadership elements include being honest, with employees and employers as well as customers; setting goals; making plans and executing them; bringing fun to the workplace; being health-conscious; and making time for family.
“These latter two struck a chord, I think,” Lloyd said in an interview with SN after the show. “The response after the seminar was startling. So many people said they know they need to put more balance into their lives.”