Writing is one of the most crucial skills in any organization. According to the National Commission on Writing, 67% of employees in major American companies spend a lot of their time writing.
They document procedures, report problems, create PowerPoint presentations, write emails, and prepare business materials.
The business world revolves around writing, but most leaders don’t know how to write well.
Let’s look at one example.
Back in 2017, Verizon Media acquired Yahoo for $4.5 billion. Communicating the acquisition, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote a lengthy email to Yahoo employees (whom she called Yahoos). The email was vague and tried too hard to portray Yahoo in a good light.
It was only 500 words long, but the words “incredibly” and “incredible” appeared six times. In one paragraph, the CEO used these words four times! While she got the message across, one thing was clear: she had limited vocabulary.
ProWritingAid could have helped. The CEO would have been able to find relevant replacements for these two words. Our Thesaurus Check feature shows replacements for all the verbs, adverbs, nouns, and adjectives in a document.
Improving your writing skills is in your best interest as a leader.
Research has shown that employees who can’t write clearly are less likely to last in an organization or get promoted—because 50% of companies consider writing ability before promoting employees.
And that’s not all. Sloppy writing can also sabotage a business.
A survey published by the Harvard Business Review showed that most businesspeople feel that unfocused, sloppy, and disorganized writing is unproductive and wastes a lot of their time.
Good writing skills are essential for every leader. Here are five ways they can enhance your leadership.
1. They Boost Employee Morale
Ninety-one percent of employees believe their managers need to improve their communication skills. Written communication is important in every aspect of business. Emails, newsletters, memos, press releases, reports, business plans, and proposals are all written. If you don’t write clearly, confusion will follow. Confused employees are not productive.
How you communicate with your team will determine their morale and the company’s success. Poor writing misinforms employees and leaves them confused, damaging their morale. Low morale can be catastrophic for business and can lead to dissatisfaction, absenteeism, poor productivity, and high turnover.
Using the wrong tone or words can make employees feel disrespected. Good writing equals great communication. Ideas are shared and new products are innovated. When you write well, you boost employee morale and output and win their trust and loyalty. Effective communication can also prevent major problems like lawsuits.
2. The Company Saves Time and Money
It’s no secret that poor writing wastes a lot of time. And in business, time is money. When FedEx rewrote its operations manuals to make them easier for users to understand, it saved $400,000 per year.
According to Inc.com, blue-chip companies spend $3.1 billion annually training their employees on remedial writing. And what’s shocking is that $2.9 billion is spent on existing employees, not new employees. It’s no wonder 80% of organizations examine the writing skills of potential employees before hiring them.
When you write well, people spend less time digesting the content. Employees don’t have to follow up so you can explain what you wrote. Mediocre writing leads to misunderstandings. When people are uncertain, they fail to act or act incorrectly. These actions can cause your business to lose a lot of money.
American businesses lose almost $400 billion every year because of poor writing. If you don’t want your business to lose money, improve your writing skills. You’ll write clearer emails, relevant memos, and detailed reports. Your employees will spend less time on insignificant tasks and more time doing the right thing.
3. You Build a Better Brand
Your writing can build or destroy your brand. A carefully crafted newsletter editorial or email can help you attract top talent and build trust with investors. A poorly written blog post, on the other hand, can make you a laughing stock in your industry.
Good writing skills are vital to success in business. Organizations that don’t grow are bound to fail. The only way a company can grow is if leaders communicate clearly. Good communication encourages investors to invest in the business, employees to be productive, customers to buy products, and suppliers to deliver goods on time. If you can’t communicate well, you can’t make these things happen.
Remember, everything you write represents you—whether it’s meant for employees or customers. Your writing can hurt or solidify your brand. You can’t afford to misspell words or make grammar mistakes. Potential customers will think, “If he can’t write well, how can his product be good?”
It may seem unfair, but people judge your intelligence, competence, and even your integrity based on the quality of your writing. In today’s harried world of texting and email, most people use acronyms or colloquialisms. However, they come across as uninformed, uneducated, and even lazy.
Donald Trump once tweeted, "Wow, every poll said I won the debate last night. Great honer!"
When you write like this, you risk running your company to the ground. Remember, people usually research brands before buying products or services. And since the internet never forgets—and people love drama—your bad writing may show up first on Google before your business. Potential clients will have a good laugh, close the page, and forget about your products.
When you write well, it shows that you put a lot of effort into everything you do. Use ProWritingAid to write better and stand out from the competition. Your readers may become your brand ambassadors.
4. You Communicate Ideas Well
Strong writing skills allow you to communicate your message with clarity and ease. Effective communication and effective leadership are closely intertwined. When you write well, you think with clarity and express ideas easily. You know how to communicate, how to make complex ideas easy to understand, and when to leave out unnecessary information.
Excellent writing skills also improve your reasoning and analytical skills, making you a better leader. Writing is unlike talking. When you write, you look for words and phrases that describe exactly what you have in mind. This ensures you express yourself better and communicate complex ideas more effectively.
When employees know what you expect of them, they know what to do to achieve the results. Nothing is as bad for business as confused employees. If your salespersons don't know exactly what the company is selling, they won’t know how to sell it. When they approach prospective customers, they will leave them confused, and confused people don’t buy anything.
Good communication is a key characteristic of a good leader. Be direct and don’t hide behind complexity.
5. Productivity Goes Up
In business, employee and workplace productivity is a little like breathing—it keeps a company alive and thriving. When employees are productive, you probably don’t think about it too much. But when they aren’t, it’s hard to think of anything else.
Poor communication makes businesses fail. If you effectively communicate expectations and responsibilities to employees, you’ll be rewarded with an engaged, productive workforce. You won’t have to micromanage them as everyone will know how to manage their time and resources.
Strong writing simplifies complex information, outlines the scope of work, and lets employees know the requirements. They don’t struggle to understand what you’re saying.
So, How Do You Become a Better Writer?
Reading content produced by outstanding writers improves your writing skills. It increases your vocabulary, enhances your cognitive ability (including reasoning skills), and boosts your concentration.
Reading also builds your emotional intelligence and makes you more empathetic, traits that are crucial for good leadership. Your creativity improves and you’re more open-minded. When you’re open-minded, you adapt to change easily and listen to your employees more.
Great leaders are constantly improving. They educate themselves continually, embrace change repeatedly, and work toward their goals daily. Reading can also help you live longer. A Yale study showed that people over 50 years who read books for 30 minutes a day, live approximately two years longer.
Practice, Practice, and Practice
As with any skill, the best way to become a better writer is to practice. You can start writing blog posts for the company blog, newsletters, white papers, or market your services on social media. You can also position yourself as an authority in your industry by writing industry-related articles
Practice makes perfect. When you write consistently, you’ll get better. Employees will love reading your emails and customers will trust your brand. However, don’t set very high goals. You can write a 500-1000-word article every week. Provide relevant information that solves a problem or answers a question.
To streamline the editing process, use ProWritingAid. The online editor will check your writing style and structure to determine how strong and readable the content is. The more you edit, the more you’ll learn.
Technology has made it mandatory for leaders to write. Every day, they write emails, social media posts, newsletters, memos, and other business materials. Good leaders continually improve their writing because they know it is a critical business skill.
To make the writing process easier and more enjoyable, use ProWritingAid. Our online editor examines your content for writing errors like misspellings, poor word choice, and wrong use of punctuation.
ProWritingAid’s Readability Report ensures your content is clear and easy to read. It gives recommendations on how to improve your document’s readability.
The ProWritingAid browser extension seamlessly integrates with a variety of websites, allowing you to edit anything you write online. We also offer free writing resources that include a collocations dictionary and a writers’ dictionary. If you want to start writing like a leader, use ProWritingAid.
Writing for Effective Leadership
If you’re a manager, team leader, or just looking to improve your leadership skills, these sessions are for you. Watch the live replay of the Jan 20 webinar.
Join us to learn how great writing leads to effective leadership.