Leadership communication can be defined as sending of controlled and purposeful messages from a person in position (leader) that are specific to the values and culture of that specific organization in context and are significantly important to key personnel in that company. When the message conveyed is affected, it will affect the vision, mission, and transformation of the organization. Messages communicated by a leader aim to affirm an organization’s vision and mission, and motivate them towards ensuring the overall success of the organization . Harmony among the workers and employees is a strength that every organization should dream of achieving as it stands central to the achievement of the organization’s goal, which lead to the overall success. This paper gives a discussion of the various communication styles a leader can apply and provide relevant examples of how leadership communication has been used to enhance the success of the organization.
I would like to describe the situation in the workplace in the video that I watched in the television series called “The Game”. It shows clear problems in the organization which include gender differences, and social harassment. Tasha is the main actor in this episode and she goes out drinking with her new coworkers and she was insulted by her colleague Jack when he indecently exposed himself to her in front all the coworkers. While they were at the party the supervisor asked for a ride from one of his subordinates. One man raised his hand to give him a ride but he said no and asked his secretary to drop him off. The next day at work Jack went to Tasha’s office to apologize, and she accepted his apology. After that, Tasha had a small conversation with Sarah, a colleague, at the office and she told her what had happened the day before with Jack. Sarah was shocked and surprised that Tasha had forgiven Jack and had let the incident go. Sarah tried to convince Tasha what had happened was social rape or sexual harassment and she should not have let it go because she is a woman and she does not want to talk about it anymore. On the same day, Tasha had a meeting with her supervisor, Jack, and four other male colleagues to discuss new ideas. Everytime she tried to say something her colleague ignored and interrupted and made fun of her. She got mad because the men were being disrespectful so she spoke loudly about what Jack had done to her the day before. The supervisor was shocked and fired Jack immediately. So after this meeting every single man avoided talking to her because they did not want to be fired and there were more sensitive issues between men and women at the office. This best illustrates how communication is central in leadership and how it is conveyed will determine whether ir will have positive or negative implications on the organization. In this case, the supervisor did not consult effectively whereas Tasha also failed in controlling her emotions. Addition, the supervisor coordinator of the meeting did not control the meeting and ensure that employees treated each other respectfully, regardless of their gender differences. The outcome of the whole issue turns out to be detrimental and adversely affects the teamwork among the employees. It created a rift between employees to the extent that men could no longer work freely with their female colleagues. At the end of everything, this will trickle down to the performance of the organization.
Therefore, for a leader to communicate effectively he or she must adhere to the following principles;
a) Everything communicates – a leader should know that everything around them and about them communicates i.e. everything they do or how they act communicates clearly then the words they say.
b) Model the behavior you are looking for from others – a leader should know that those you are leading will emulate whatever you do; if you want your followers to be hardworking you must be hard working.
c) What is heard is as important as what is said – communication is a two way process and to communicate effectively a leader should be a good listener.
d) You have to communicate not inform – informing is just giving information but communicating influences thoughts, feelings and actions.
e) Communicating courageously and honestly –employees will understand and respect a leader who speaks with courage and honesty.
Leadership communication styles can be classified according to how authority is exerted. The main types include; Dictatorial Style, Authoritative Style, Consultative Style, Participative Team Style.
Dictatorial style: as the name suggests the leader’s communication will be like a dictator’s and will take supreme power in making all decisions concerning the company. In these situations, the personnel working under such a leader may face excessive disciplinary actions for failure to do what was communicated to them and they are not given the opportunity to question the given decision. In the Authoritative style leaders communicate very clear expectations but this lacks creativity as the leaders make decisions with no input from other people in the company. The consultative style involves a leader is task oriented and always focuses on using others in effectively formulating plans and taking decisions (even though the final decision always rest on him) to finally achieve a positive result. The participative Team style involves all members of the team equally involved in the decision making and goal achieving process of the company.
There are a couple of known leadership communication theories/methods e.g. Argumentation Theory, leader member exchange theory, Attribution Theory and Authoritarian Theory. Argumentation theory, here after a speaker has spoken, the listener must differentiate the trustworthy details from the lies. If the listener does not trust the information given he/she can argue the lies out with the speaker in order achieve reliability in communication. Attribution- this is assigning quality of a thing or character of a person. This theory explains how and why people do the things they do. There are two types of attributions, Internal and external attribution. Internal attribution is caused by emotions and motives of the individual while External attributions are caused by external events. Authoritarian theory describes all communication forms under the control of an authoritative body such as a government. Authoritarians control information through censorship to protect people from harmful information. Some examples of censorship include There are different types of censors like political censor, Moral censor, Religious censor, Military censor and Corporate censor
In the leader member exchange theory (LMX), the leader member exchange theory first emerged in the 1950’s and it is concerned with the relationship created between a managers and members of their teams. The theory clearly states that the relationship between a manager and members of his team must go through three distinct stages, which are: Role taking, role making and routinization.
Role taking involves a manager assessing his team member’s abilities first time they join the team then assign them the roles that properly suit them. Role making comes right after role taking and this happens when the team begins undertaking their projects and tasks. When this happens, the team members should prove their trustworthiness and loyalty to their manager. If a team member proves his loyalty and trustworthiness, he is put in the in-group. The in-group members have more access to their manager. If a member has not proved their loyalty they are put in the out-group, which has little access to the manager and do not often receive opportunity for growth and development.Routinization is the last stage in the leader member exchange relationship and here the routines between managers and team members are created and the in-group members strive to keep a good rapport with their managers by showing loyalty, respect, and trust (Froschheiser, 2013).
Using leader member exchange theory in the scenario on the first page the supervisor when creating his team would have taken all the members through the three stages of LMX theory. First by role taking to test each member’s abilities and skills. There he would have noticed Tasha mac’s skills and ideas which are valuable to the company. Then in the role making stage he would identify each member’s character, strengths and weaknesses e.g. Jack’s indecent behaviour. Finally in the routinization stage he would have the best members. But every leader has to go an extra length to ensure that his members remain comfortable, hardworking and loyal to them. Some of the unconventional perspective leadership methods to do that are the supervisor asking the other team members why they wouldn’t let Tasha mac voice her idea, why they were making fun of her. Through that the supervisor would curb the issue of gender discrimination at the work place and also remove an obstacle affecting Tasha in the workplace. To further curb gender discrimination the supervisor can focus on culture of gender differences and set tone to promote gender equality in the team. The supervisor fired jack to demonstrate importance of proper work ethics and respect between members of his team. After firing jack the other men stopped talking to Tasha for fear of being fired. This would affect the team’s performance. The leader will have to remove the fear factor by assuring them that as long as they keep proper work ethics and avoid sexual harassment they wouldn’t be fired. The supervisor demonstrates proper use of power by dealing with issues sternly and immediately (Leigh, 2014).
Tasha being among the in-group members and having more time and access to the supervisorgave her an opportunity to express her concerns on what jack had done to her. The supervisor fired Jack for not having proper work ethics both in and out of work.The leadership interaction of the supervisor with his team members during projects has helped foster good relations in the company thus good communication. With the Leader member exchange theory, the supervisor is able to get a good team in his company, foster good relations with the members and establish proper work ethics within the company.
In conclusion, leadership communication is an essential component in the proper operation/ functioning of the company. Leadership communication ensures that the relationship between the managers and the employees is good, and the employees remain loyal and committed to the cause of the company. The best leadership communication, in my opinion, is consultative communication style as the leader involves all team members in decisions of the company but still maintains the final say in all decisions made. This earns the leader both respect and loyalty from his employees. In essence, leaders need to understand their subjects well and apply the most appropriate styles that will help foster teamwork and enhance unity among the employees. When this is achieved, it possible to move towards the organizational goals and targets. It is also imperative to note that all the leadership styles apply in all situation and, therefore, every leader should be well-versed with the different communication styles, to be applied appropriately in various situations.
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