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Leadership communication and the importance of language

Language is powerful tool that can make or break organisations, leaders, and teams. When used well, words can amount to great outcomes. When use poorly, they can have severe consequences.

In 2015, American Cargo Ship, SS El Faro sailed into the middle of Hurricane Joaquin. In a series of tragic events, the ship sadly went down with all 33 mariners on board. It left behind a voyage data recorder documenting final conversations, and a lesson we all need to learn; words matter.

Tune in to this fascinating episode of Commical with L. David Marquet, retired Navy captain and best-selling author of Leadership is Language. Gain insight into the vital role of language in effective leadership communication, teamwork and decision making.


Is language really that powerful? 

Perhaps the most harrowing observation to come from the El Faro story, is that language could have saved the ship and its mariners. Yes, something as simple but powerful as words could have made the difference between life and death.

In his latest book, Leadership is Language, David analyses the words of the crew, its officers and captain at crucial points of time, and their influence on the ship’s demise. He brings this thorough research and his extensive knowledge to Commical to share invaluable lessons on language and communication skills.

Words underpin meaning, they send signals about what we think and feel. David highlights that how we use language to convey messages, has a great impact on leadership, teamwork, and decision making.

In the case of El Faro, the inability to communicate across rank was a key factor in her downfall. Analysis of conversations revealed that higher ranking and higher paid members on board had greater, if not all, input on decisions. If only leaders had swapped words of disempowerment with those of inclusion and intent, the outcome could have been very different.

Effective leaders operate in a culture of vulnerability, openness, and collaboration. David explains that when these attributes are present, decisions are backed by critical thinking, rather than rash action. And when a range of ideas and opinions form decisions, they’re more likely to be the right ones.

Whether you’re a leader or an employee – this episode is a must-listen. Tune in and learn why your voice, and the way you use it, is critical to the success of your organisation.

About L. David Marquet

Student of leadership and organizational design, former nuclear submarine Commander, and named one of the Top 100 Leadership Speakers by Inc. Magazine. L. David Marquet is the Author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller: Turn the Ship Around! and The Turn the Ship Around Workbook. David’s latest book, Leadership is Language, is a Wall Street Journal Bestseller.

David imagines a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work – a place where everyone is a leader.

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Fusing communication expertise and stand-up comedy makes for a unique take on a business podcast, and very easy listening. Commical explores a range of interpersonal, group and mass communication topics through the experiences of my talented guests.

Light in tone, heavy in value – download now from all good podcast apps or listen online now.

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