Sample Business Paper on Effective Communication and Leadership

Effective Communication and Leadership

Communication has proved to be the most challenging task for leaders in all levels. This is despite the fact that communication is the most important factor in leadership (Baldoni, 2003). Lack of effective communication can make a leader to lose commitment of his or her team members and fail to reach the desired goals. It could even lead to failure on the part of the leader to develop a rapport with his team, making them fail even with the best intentions to be successful. This paper examines some of the strategies used in communication and how leaders can use them effectively with their team members.

Listening

A good leader must know when to talk and when to listen to other people. This factor is more important when a leader is communicating with his team in a situation where emotions are intense, and when members are required to share ideas. Some emotions are extreme and would require attention from both the business point of view and on a personal standpoint, such as excitement, anger, and resentment (Caputo et al., 2003). Team members would feel appreciated when a leader validates what they feel, and ignoring their feelings may only work against a leader by creating a distance between them. This would later erode the good relationship and affect the working relationship between the team members and the leader.

Team situations may also need a leader to listen effectively. Employees would only offer ideas to a leader who is ready to listen to them. Ideas from employees and group members are very important in ensuring that the team or department is innovative in addressing problems (Baldoni, 2003). When a manager listens to the employees, he would be assured that they are all working towards the same goals. He can easily identify areas of conflict and offer the best solution, which in return would cultivate a healthy relationship in the department.

Facilitating

Apart from listening, a good leader must be able to lead a conversation to a productive ending. He should be able to hear what others say, integrate what has been said into a topic being discussed, and then contribute towards the conversation to move it forward (Taub, 2002). The manager must listen to comments from employees, and then include them in the topic; he should remain focused so that he directs the conversation towards achieving the desired outcome.

Questioning

In some cases, a leader may need information but may not have an idea on how to get it. It also happens that employees may have the needed information, but may not know how to communicate it to the leader. Good questions from a leader may help open communication lines with the employees (Pauley and Joseph, 2009). The leader must know that different results are achieved by asking different forms of questions. He can use closed questions when he wishes to get a yes/no response.

When in need of longer responses, then open questions would be effective; for example, “what do you think about the new project?” Asking good personal questions can help a leader to connect with the employees, for example asking them how their weekend was and how their families are doing (Caputo et al., 2003). Wrong personal questions, on the other hand, would alienate team member, for example, why they are dating so and so can be seen as prying.

 

Discretion

A good leader must realize that the title of leadership demands discretion because other people would be looking up to him for protection, guidance, and even direction. A sense of confidentiality would enable others to develop trust in the leader (Baldoni, 2003). No employee would wish to share his problems with a leader who is not trustworthy.

Directing

A leader must be able to give clear directions so that employees know what they are expected to do and at what time. During a period of confusion, a leader would be required to direct others on the way forward out of the confusion. Directing can create a sense of cooperation among employees, leading to high production levels.

Barriers to Effective Communication

Language

Although it is obvious, many people assume that everyone uses the same language they use in native contexts (Chambers, 2000). It is true that most people speak English, but during any conversation should never be assumed that English is the first language for everyone. The language use may require the person wishing to communicate an idea to be a bit careful with the choice of words used in a conversation. The choice of words may be too complex for the intended audience.

Emotional Barriers

A person may be so eager to fit in a certain group that even communicating maybe a problem. They may fear that they would make a mistake and be ashamed; they therefore end up doing strange things during a conversation (Chambers, 2000). Conversations should never be forced when they seem not to go well.

Active Listening

When no party is listening, conversation would definitely be difficult. Active listening enables people to reflect and understand what the other person is saying. One should pay attention to what is being said, instead of thinking how he would respond next (Caputo et al., 2003).

References

Baldoni, J. (2003). Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Caputo, J. S., Jo P., Kenneth P., & John N. (2003). Effective Communication. Twickenham, Eng: Dramatic Lines. Print.

Chambers, H. (2000). Effective Communication Skills: For Technical and Scientific Professionals. Massachusetts: Cambridge

Pauley, J. A., & Joseph F. (2009). Communication: The Key to Effective Leadership. Milwaukee, Wis: ASQ Quality Press.

Taub, D. (2002). Student Leadership Training: A Workbook to Reinforce Effective Communication Skills. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press