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Thought Leadership

Adam Bryant

Leaders need to be good writers, too

January 11, 2022

Being an effective manager requires strong communication skills, including writing. A few tips can help you avoid common traps and raise your game.

You’ve probably already drawn up your list of resolutions and goals for 2022. Allow me to make a pitch for adding one more: improving your writing skills. Yes, that may sound like one of those evergreen goals. But it’s particularly relevant for leadership right now. After all, most communications from leaders, whether they are company-wide emails, memos, or tweets, start out in written form. Getting them right helps build a strong culture—a bigger challenge now that some form of hybrid work is going to be with us for a long time.

So leaders have to communicate more, and better, to create a sense that everyone is part of a team. It reminds me of what Kip Tindell, cofounder and former CEO of The Container Store, a Texas-based retail chain, told me in an interview years ago: “One of our foundation principles is that leadership and communication are the same thing. Communication is leadership.”

And though there tends to be a lot of focus these days on the sort of presentation and spoken communication skills that are used in video calls, sometimes the more old-school form of communication, writing, gets overlooked. For everything from the “about us” page of your website to the emails you send to employees and your communications with customers and clients, writing plays a large part in setting the tone of your culture and your brand.

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The ExCo Group’s Adam Bryant wrote this article for his column in Strategy + Business.