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Core competencies of successful leadership communication

Successful leadership communication is an essential component of successful leadership. Communication by managers plays a crucial role in conveying vision, goals and expectations in order to lead and motivate team members. Despite the central importance of leadership communication, it often fails in companies – the reasons can be manifold.

In order to support the mechanical and plant engineering industry from NRW in successful leadership communication, ProduktionNRW offered a virtual workshop in cooperation with Andrea Veerkamp-Walz, consultant for personnel and innovation management at VDMA, on November 10, 2023. The event focused on active participation through a variety of exercises and group work.

Core skills: Listening, asking questions and giving feedback

Dr. Reinhard Schmitt, consultant at P1 Consulting, defined leadership as establishing and maintaining goal-oriented communication. Communication is therefore at the heart of leadership.

Misunderstandings in communication often arise due to individual perception filters, such as experience or education. To ensure successful communication, it is therefore essential to create a shared reality and reduce misunderstandings to a reasonable level. Achieving this shared reality is best achieved through the core competencies of successful leadership communication: listening, questioning and feedback.

  1. Listening: According to Otto Scharmer’s model, there are four levels of listening. Starting with the first level, which is characterized by an egocentric perspective, the concept of listening expands for each subsequent level. Finally, at the fourth level, a common, shared reality is created.
  2. Questions: Questions are crucial tools for improving understanding. Open, scaling and hypothetical questions can be used in different ways.
  3. Feedback: Feedback serves to develop skills and can help to address unconscious incompetence and promote skills. Well-crafted feedback is characterized by the structure of perception, effect and desire. The common sandwich method is not recommended.
Disussion in small grous and exercises

Various small group discussions and exercises were carried out in parallel to the respective core competencies, including the Dominican exercise, collecting the best leadership questions and the proxy feedback exercise. In accompanying discussions, the role of a manager and the question of whether this must necessarily be unpopular was discussed, among other things. Participants also exchanged views on how to deal with managers who do not follow the guidelines for successful communication.

The overall assessment of the workshop concept was positive. Individual participants are planning to carry out similar exercises in their own companies in order to further promote awareness of the core competencies of successful leadership communication among managers.


The event was organized by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the cluster for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is organized by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks with each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.