As a communications leader, you’re keenly aware of the value your comms team can bring to the business. You know that strategic communicators create value for their organisations by working on comms activities that generate business outcomes connected to their companies’ strategic business priorities.

But sometimes, it may not feel like company leaders know this. Of course, most company leaders want to create strategic value too. But they don’t always know how communications can help and can easily get caught up in their own ideas about how communication works.

We know from our conversations with Kademy members that leaders want support from their communicators in four main areas:

What leaders want from communicators *Responses were collected through communicator interviews with their respective leaders during their completion of Kademy’s Powerful Conversation with Leaders course from 2020 to early 2022. Kademy categorised and grouped responses according to topically-similar leader wants. Data does not add up to 100% because leaders typically described multiple wants.

All four of these expectations could reflect a strategic mindset on the leader’s part – but that’s not guaranteed. Each expectation could just as easily reflect a tactical mindset. But tactical and strategic mindsets are not incompatible with each other. Leaders, along with everyone else, are more often a mixture of the two.

As such, tactical and strategic mindsets can be shown on a spectrum.

Tactical to strategic spectrum

For example, at the top of the leader wish list is for communicators to deliver engaging, concise campaigns. It’s a broad statement that describes a range of both tactical and strategic expectations:

  • Leaders with a more tactical mindset might believe that sending messages out is all that it takes to deliver engaging, concise campaigns.
  • Leaders with a more strategic mindset look for communicators who can use communications to prompt employees to change behaviour.
  • In between those are leaders who expect communicators to do more with communications than send messages out. They want communicators who use communications to engage people by capturing their attention and perhaps even building their awareness of an issue, but not so much as prompting behaviour change.

Which way do your leaders lean in their mindsets about communications? Do they tend to be more tactical or more strategic?

This information can help you unpack leaders’ expectations of you and your team, and see how those expectations might help or block your efforts to create strategic value for the company through your communications.

Kademy’s Powerful Conversations with Leaders learning series  helps you identify and use these insights so you can determine how you approach, advise, and listen to leaders – so that not only do you give them what they want, you give them what they need.