A Leadership Lesson From an Army General: Use Briefback Communication


Patrick Allan

November 13, 2015

Being an effective leader means having strong communication skills, and this tip from a retired three-star general will make sure your communication is always ironclad.

We’ve featured all kinds of great tips you can learn from the military before, but there’s still a lot you can learn from the leaders among their ranks. To be a strong leader, retired Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney suggests that your communication should always be a three-part process, or what’s known as “briefback” communication. You give orders, they reflect those orders back to you, and you clarify everything that may have been misunderstood. Kearney explains:

We are in a world where most communication is one way. Email is a classic example. We make assumptions that people understand our intentions, but just because you’ve sent an email doesn’t mean that people have read it, much less understood it. With three-way communication, you clear things up easier and faster.

The tiniest miscommunication can throw everything off the rails, so it’s good to always be as clear as possible, no matter the task. You may not be in charge of people’s lives, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same tried and true methods that military leaders use. As Kearney says, “leadership is deliberate: you don’t accidentally have successful teams.”

Photo by Expert Infantry.


This article was written by Patrick Allan from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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