Reading: Your Leadership Superpower
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How Writing Makes You A Better Leader

We are all writers, thanks to computers and keyboards and good old-fashioned pen and paper. But let me qualify that statement: We all think that we are talented writers. But what does writing have to do with successful leadership?

From the three-line email to the thirty-page pitch deck, the characteristics of exceptional writing skills are clarity, a persuasive message or a story that engages the reader. But what do they have to do with being a great leader?

Like reading, writing can focus the mind and hone our communications skills. The more we write with conscious intent, the better we become at organizing our thoughts and expressing ourselves more effectively. This is one secret of successful leaders.

Develop Your Daily Writing Practice

Consider your reader

Start your writing with your audience in mind. What information do you want them to take away from your communication? Perhaps you have a question or there is an action you want them to take or an outcome that you want to achieve. Being an effective leader is about being clear about your expectations. Also, remember the words you choose will affect the relationship between you as the writer and your reader. That brief reflection on your reader will help you structure your message more clearly and avoid misunderstandings and confusion.

Nurture a writing habit

Our brains are hard-wired to create shortcuts for tasks that we repeat again and again. Making writing a regular, conscious practice will help you improve your leadership skills and enable you to communicate with more clarity and empathy. It will also give us the confidence and critical thinking skills to recognise good writing in ourselves and in the written content we receive.

Pause before you write

Taking a deep breath is particularly important in situations where we feel under pressure. For example, when we receive an email that triggers an adrenaline rush. Too often, business leaders sacrifice those brief moments of reflection for the sake of speed. Often, stress, emotions or our eagerness to jump into action compels us to shoot off the first, unfiltered thoughts that come to mind. The consequences are potentially that we miss out on opportunities to build better relationships and we lose much more time on regret and repairing the connections we might have broken.

Use the power of technology

Even the most confident writers sometimes struggle to find the right idea and need a little help. It’s reassuring to know that there is a growing collection of tech tools available to help you beat your creative block and improve the quality of your writing. For instance, if you want your writing to be more readable, professional and typo-free, then Grammarly offers a free browser extension that you can add to Chrome. If you need some inspiration to get you started, then you can key in your topic or keyword into AnswerThePublic and get a mind-map of all the different questions people have asked about this topic in their online queries. And if you really want to speed up your writing process, there are several AI-assisted writing tools like which will do most of the work for you.

PRO TIP: Ideas for your leadership journal

I usually write my daily journal at the end of the day and I like to start with what I call a check-in question. This is something like asking myself what my wins were, what I found most challenging, what I am most proud of or grateful for. What my key achievements were and what goals I’d like to set myself for the following day.

This self-reflection keeps me grounded and helps me look back on my day in a balanced way, without self-judgement or complacency.

What check-in question will you ask yourself today?

Further Reading

Scribd: Reflective Writing Best Practices

Fast Company: The Benefits Of Journaling For Leaders

Forbes: Why Writing Ability Is The Most Important Skill In Business (And How to Acquire It)

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