Effective Leadership is Largely About Communication.

Communication involves sharing information. It is a perpetual process that increases in efficiency as dissemination of the information becomes more and more successful. The ability to effectively exchange and create a free flow of this information among individuals or within an organization while achieving the desired outcome is what defines communication. Producing the impact desired often employs such aspects as active listening, written, verbal and non-verbal exchange of bits of information relevant to the matter at hand.

Communication is a very critical component towards the success of any institution. While reading the book Technology Integration to Business by John T. Yee and Seog – Chan Oh, I realized in the book at some point that a number of researches have over time insisted on communication as the most important thing towards the success of any project planning and execution. Though the book focuses on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), interoperability and sustainability for manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management; some aspects such as project planning and success find applications in other disciplines including operations management, human resource et cetera in which communication is very critical.

In a nutshell, effective leadership will be defined in terms of the ability of those being led explaining satisfactorily the objectives, mission and vision of the organization. By understanding where the organization is as well as where it needs to be, the team members will be able to execute their roles as expected. This helps an organization for instance to have stronger teamwork, high employee job satisfaction, improved productivity and an excellent corporate culture.

A study by Cortex in 2003 found out that the number one cause of project failure is failed communication. Fuller and his team in 2008 discovered that some of the causes of project failure were poor articulation of user requirements and failure to involve users appropriately. For Wallace and Keil, lack of user involvement as well as unclear business objectives resulted in business failure. We can conclude, irrespective of the item under study, that poor communication is a big hindrance toward corporate success.

Anchal Luthra and Dr. Richa Dahiya in their study titled Effective Leadership is all About Communicating Effectively: Connecting Leadership and Communication note that the leadership is as successful as the communication. Does the leader easily offer help to the team members towards achieving their goals by effectively communicating with them? Can the team decipher the targets to be reached by them? Do they feel involved? More often than not, employees or partners will feel sidelined if information does not reach them. They don’t feel important any more if they are not informed or consulted even on issues that are mandated for them.

Effective Leadership
Effective Leadership to a large extent is about communication. Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

Is the written or verbal communication enough? This is another critical aspect of leadership failure if answered on the affirmative. In as much as people want the rules and objectives to be clearly articulated, they expect the leaders themselves to live by them. Children learn by imitation, which could mean that even a majority of the older people will always try to follow in the footsteps of the leadership. This is how one can be able to gain the confidence of their teams. It is an aspect of trust which ends up promoting proper teamwork within the workplace.

What if the leader is full of doubt, negative or disconnected while communicating? None of the team members will want to relate with them. Positive energy dissipates within an organized team and its source must be from the leadership first. Leadership goes beyond showing people where to go and entails motivating them on the way to get there. This is achieved by the self-motivated and overall energetic leadership from the top down to those in charge of clusters (teams) even to an individual level.

Ambiguity and distortion of information is perhaps one of the greatest barriers to effective communication. It is this barriers that bring about unclear objectives, unreliable and poor information channels which lead to organizational failure. For this to happen, the leader is to blame to some large extent. The blame comes because mostly the leader is unapproachable, making the communication process hectic. The information comes from tertiary sources and it is within this channels that clarity gets lost.

To retain authenticity, the leader needs to be brief, clear, and precise. By establishing a transparent system of passing information, vagueness and grapevine gets filtered out of the way. This needs a lot of focus from the top and an emphasis on active listening at the bottom. Fear should not be a part of this and erroneous messages should be corrected first before being delivered to the recipient.

Once all the above is achieved, there develops a better understanding between the team members which in turn grows the trust and congenial relations amongst the group. A good working environment is also established which translates to motivated and coordinated employees. The overall advantage of this is high and excellent productivity.

Anchal and Dr. Richa conclude their study as thus, “a leader cannot become an effective leader until unless he is an excellent communicator and must use this ability to let individuals follow him. He must have knowledge and will be able to communicate that knowledge to others at work and motivate them as well.”

No better way to end this piece.


Copyright @ 2019.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at dailyfocus9@gmail.com
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