Communication Skills in Leadership Essay
In the corporate world communication and leadership are two attributes that are necessary to achieve business success. It is important to always have the lines of communication open between the employees and the managerial staff. The managers of an organization are responsible for the performance of the entire staff. It is imperative for managers to have good leadership skills. Leadership can be defined as a special case of interpersonal influence that gets an individual or group to do what the leader wants done (Shermerhorn & Hunt & Osborn, 2003).
The purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyze communication and leadership in the workplace. The communication process involves interchanging messages between the source and the receiver. The source is the person that sends the information, while the receiver is the person that listens to other person talking. Maintaining good communication between the employees of a company is important because doing so can help a firm improve its productivity. Managers that maintain good communication are able to gain the trust of the employees.
For communication to be effective in the workplace it must follow the proper communication channels. The communication channels are the pathways used to transmit information. Some examples of communication channels are emails, telephone, cellular phones, written letters, memos, and face to face meetings. A good mechanism that often enhances the communication process is feedback. Feedback is a reaction or response to something another person has done or said (Dictionary, 2012). A popular method of feedback that is often used in the corporate world is 360-degree feedback.
This method forces different people including peers and supervisors to evaluate the performance of an employee. Communication can be either verbal or non-verbal. Talking to another person is a form of verbal communication. Three examples of non-verbal communication are body gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Communication must be effective to ensure that everyone understands the message. Speaking in a concise matter helps improve the communication process. A skill that enhances communication is active listening.
Five key elements of active listening are: • Pay attention • Show that you are listening • Provide feedback • Defer judgment • Respond appropriately (Mindtools, 2012). Improving the communication between co-workers can help reduce misunderstandings. Good communication can also help prevent conflicts in the workplace. There are forces that inhibit communication such as cultural differences, lack of feedback, and noise. Ethnocentrism occurs when one culture believe their values are superior to another culture.
A lack of feedback is counterproductive because the person that does not receive feedback cannot take any corrective action to improve his behavior. Noise hurts the communication process because it interferes with the ability of people to listen to the message being sent. Companies must learn about new communication technologies. New communication tools such as Skype allow workers to have video chats and conferences. Face to face dialog is one of the most effective communication methods (Stryker & Santoro, 2012). Organizations need leadership in order to guide the efforts of the company.
The managers of the company are the employees that are supposed to exert leadership, but leadership can come from any employee in a firm. When leadership comes from an employee that is not in a managerial position that form of leadership is called informal leadership. Some of the top companies that utilize leadership to their advantage are IBM, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Aditya Birla, and Colgate-Palmolive (Cnn, 2012). A company that has a reputation for having good leaders is better able to attract young talent into the firm.
Good leadership in an organization helps a firm increase the motivation of its employees. Employees that are motivated perform better and have greater job satisfaction. An athlete that after his retirement was able to use his leadership skills to build a corporate empire worth over $700 million is Earvin “Magic” Johnson. There are different styles of leadership that people can utilize. Three leadership styles are charismatic, transactional, and transformational leader. A charismatic leader that has led the United States since 2008 is President Barack Obama. President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
Other charismatic leaders that influenced the United States social and political landscape are Bill Clinton and Martin Luther King Jr. Some of the characteristics of charismatic leaders include sociability, expertise, humor, intelligence, and originality. Transactional leadership involves leader-follower exchanges necessary for achieving routine performance agreed upon between both parties (Schermerhorn, et al. , 2003). The four dimensions of transactional leadership are contingent rewards, active management by exception, passive management of exception and laissez-faire.
Leadership is very important for the proper functionality of a work team. Typically teams assign a team leader to guide the efforts of the group. “A team leader or team lead is someone who provides guidance, instruction, direction, leadership to a group of other individuals for the purpose of achieving a key result or group of aligned results” (Linkedin, 2012). Working in teams can enhance the leadership abilities of all the members. For a team to work effectively the members must communicate well.
Electronic communication tools such as emails are a good way for teams to document their communication exchanges. High performance teams realize that in order to optimize the performance of the team all members must work together as a cohesive unit. Team leaders must divide the work task by activities that are distributed in an equal manner among the members. Leadership and communication are instrumental for companies to operate effectively in the 21st century. The business world has become more competitive than ever due to a variety of factors including the globalization movement.
Companies must invest in training and development to improve the communication skills of its workers. The managers companies recruit must possess superb communication and leadership skills. Open communications, active listening, feedback, and use of proper communication channels are some of the techniques that can be utilized to enhance communication in the workplace. Teamwork and cooperation are essential elements needed for success. Leadership must be actively fostered in organizations to improve the decision making and problem solving abilities of the employees.