It’s important for leaders to feel that they have a handle on their business and their reputation. And any effective leader understands there is no way to derail this feeling faster than by questioning their writing skills. Like it or not, people will judge your intelligence and success by your writing.
A leader needs to effectively communicate ideas and be able to bring them to fruition. And to do so will require extremely honed writing skills, as well as quality reading, speaking and delegation skills. If a leader’s overall communication is not precise, the project and the team involved will likely suffer.
Writing is communication, and communication is key for any leader. Here are six ways you can begin to improve your writing today, and in turn, open new doors for leadership opportunities.
1. Use Active Voice
When you write in an active voice, you give the power of the sentences to the subjects, not the objects. For example, a passive voice would say, “the frog was eaten by the executive,” while an active voice would say “the executive ate the frog.”
When you write in active voice, your words are stronger and more directive. This is a necessity for any leader and should be a constant in their writing, from emails to memos and more.
2. Use Simple Words
Nobody is handing out medals for the most complex vocabulary or the longest words. Great writers can take complex thoughts and ideas and break them down into simple, easy to read sentences.
When you write, consider whether or not the average person would understand your meaning. If you think they’d get confused, rewrite it. An effective leader must connect with every individual of their team, and everyone has their own talents and learning methods.
3. Know Your Audience
One of the fastest ways to improve your writing is to identify your audience. You must not only communicate with your team and project mission, but a good leader needs to be aware of their audience outside of the team as well.
It’s possible that your writing has suffered simply because you were not aware of the expectations or limitations of your reader. Picture your reader in your mind anytime you write something.
4. Use Online Tools
Hemingway App – This editor gives readability scores and focuses on hard to read or run-on sentences.
Copywriting 101 - A great source for practical advice for reaching your audience.
Ginger – This app helps you write better and faster, and also offers a text reader.
BrainyQuote – A good source for inspirational or motivational quotes for your team.
OTranscribe – A free web app that makes transcribing recorded interviews simple.
Custom Writing Service – This writing service offers professional, one-on-one support for any writing questions, from research and structure to resumes and cover letters.
Power Thesaurus - This crowd-sourced thesaurus is straightforward and simple.
Draft – This simple online word processor is perfect for leaders who need to reference old drafts or writing materials, while working on new ones.
5. Edit Ruthlessly
One big mistake many leaders make in their writing is to skip the editing process (or to rush through it). You might write an email and immediately send it off, without much hesitation at all. However, successful leaders take the time (even just an extra 10 minutes) to carefully walk through their written material before sending it out.
Check for typos, hard to read sentences and misspelled words. The more you edit, the more you’ll learn how important the practice is, and the better at it you will be.
Practice makes perfect. The best way to improve your writing is to do it a lot. Write in a journal every day or enter writing contests. “When you take a minute to jot down the day’s achievements, you acknowledge what makes you great. Your team members and clients are too busy to notice your daily victories, so it’s important to take a brief moment for self-congratulations. It’s a great confidence builder, and it helps you quantify and assess your strengths” (forbes.com).
Your ability to write well is a reflection of your skill and expertise as a leader. That’s just the truth. Improving your writing is an important part of your growth and success, in any profession or for any project.
Leaders must stand out from the rest. And your writing skills are one of the most effective ways to showcase your leadership talents and abilities. Understand the need for you writing to flourish if you wish to be a successful leader. And why not start today? There is no better time than now. Follow these six steps and create a routine, and watch yourself become a stronger writer and a more effective leader.
Kenneth Waldman is a professional content writer with over 5 years of experience and also a Сopyreader at AskPetersen Writing Reviews (read the latest CustomWritings Review). His expertise includes education, marketing, freelancing.