Over and over again I have seen companies spend thousands of dollars and months developing a plan and yet spend little time or planning on how to communicate this plan to their employees or customers. Communication is a huge piece in the in the puzzle that makes up a great leader, it does not matter whether you are talking to other team members are customers.

Great leaders know that it takes a great deal of emotional intelligence to understand when to talk, what to say and when to listen. When leaders talk they are effective communicators and are able to clearly get their ideas across. The success of a good plan is in the execution of that plan and to properly execute the plan to maximize its effectiveness any plan needs to include how to communicate not only the path and each step along the way but also the desired end.

If people don’t understand or aren’t aware of your expectations, they will fall short, so the more specific you can be, the better. You need to be able to communicate on all levels: one on one, to the department and to the entire staff, as well as via phone, email and social media. Communication is built on a steady flow of the exchanges of ideas and information, so work on being approachable and involving people from different levels.

“If people aren’t aware of your expectations, and they fall short, it’s really your fault for not expressing it to them. The people I work with are in constant communication, probably to a fault. But communication is a balancing act. You might have a specific want or need, but it’s super important to treat work as a collaboration. We always want people to tell us their thoughts and ideas—that’s why we have all these very talented people working with us.”

Put it all together, and what emerges is a picture of the truly inspiring leader: someone who communicates clearly, concisely, and often, and by doing so motivates everyone to give his or her best all the time. They challenge their people by setting high but attainable standards and expectations and then giving them the support, tools, training, and latitude to pursue those goals and become the best employees they can possibly be.