What makes a great communications leader?

Simone Bell, CEO PRINZ

“One third of it for me is skills, a third is character, and a third is being strategic.”
 Enel/GA Study participant (page 69)

ImagePRINZ members had the privilege of listening to Canadian practitioner and current ‘ambassador at large’ for the Global Alliance, Jean Valin recently. Jean spoke about the Enel/GA study he did with a colleague from the PRSA into a number of large multi-national companies (30,000+ staff), entitled ‘Who has seen the future?’ The study was done for the Global Alliance and supported by Enel. It can be downloaded here.

Jean began by outlining the seven core competencies which are described as ‘virtually universal’ but just a starting point for generating excellence.

They are:

  1. Research, plan, implement and evaluate communications programs and projects.
  2. Apply public relations/communication theories, models and practices. (*note: least supported by study participants)
  3. Apply public relations/communication strategies to business goals and objectives.
  4. Manage issues and crisis communications.
  5. Uphold professional standards and practice ethical behavior.
  6. Demonstrate communication skills (written, oral, presentation, negotiation, etc.).
  7. Effectively manage organizational communication resources (human, financial, technological, etc.)

In his presentation he then talked through each of the companies studied in depth and shared what emerged as attributes of an ideal communicator, in my opinion attributes of a communications leader, which across the five companies differed but emerged as:

  • Adaptable
  • Diplomatic
  • Passionate
  • Self-confident
  • Commitment
  • Professional appearance
  • Principles of an influencer
  • Relationship builder
  • Integrity
  • Credible/trusted
  • Committed to professional development (for them and teams)
  • Committed to being involved

The report also showed a consensus that senior communicators need to understand financial reporting, manage budgets, disclosure policies how the comms budget relates to other budgets and the overall company success.  Each of personal interest to me and an area most of us can upskill in.

Infographic - desired skills 2014Numerous competencies and attributes are listed in the report (pages 68-69), I’d encourage you to study these, ensure you have many of them and if not, work to develop them.

Click the image on the right to view ‘desired skills for prospective staff’ taken from the PRINZ 2012 Trends Survey.

If you have a commitment to professional development and are a PRINZ member, you may like to use your own findings from this study towards your RIVER CPD practicing certificate. If you’re not familiar with the PRINZ RIVER CPD programme, click here to visit our website for more information.

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