Communication and Leadership
Written by Rahul Kumar for Gaebler Ventures
Good leaders tend to be good communicators. We examine one of the most common traits for leaders: the ability to communicate in a meaningful and inspiring fashion.
It is common knowledge that leaders evolve through the grinding nature of circumstances that they experience.
Certain environmental aspects lead to the development of a few traits common among leaders.
To begin with, leadership is a lot about communicating the right things in the right fashion in the right setup at the right time. Hence, communication is in the constituent makeup of good leadership. If you think of good leaders you have known, they are typically good communicators, would you agree?
However, one can have the best communication skills and still not be a successful leader. One needs to know, by virtue of his sagacity, what to communicate, how to communicate and when to communicate. There is a very high inter-dependence of these three issues and it is at the appropriate intersection of all of them that an optimal outcome can be expected.
What a leader communicates is answered over time by the goals/objectives that the aspiring/prospective leader develops in his aim to achieve his vision. Vision sets the foundation for all the other factors to successful leadership. If people are initially not convinced by the vision of the future projected to them, then no matter how one communicates it, failure is likely.
A good leader can communicate vision in a way that engenders strong support. In other words, strength of the vision is to a large extent derived from the rigor and vigor of its expression which further needs to be synchronized with the strategic directions chosen to achieve the set vision itself. Arm movements, voice tone and modulation and other physical gestures become increasingly influential at this moment. For example, Hitler was vociferous in his public speeches whereas Mahatma Gandhi was rather soft but unswerving at the same time... and this obviously got reflected in nature of their chosen methods. Besides, how one communicates also expresses one's own motivation, desire and commitment to accomplish his goals. It may give the listener confidence to bank on the speaker if done correctly or can be a disaster if it lacks the above.
Words are not everything, mind you. Apart from conveying the right message in speeches and team meetings, the leader has to himself set precedents for followers to follow. Leading by example is very powerful, and can be done without many words or speeches.
To be sure, leadership is complex. There is no clear definition on how to tread one's own chosen path except that one should do whatever is necessary. One should have a strong will or leadership can forever remain a dream.
No one can follow a weak leader who does not know what he is doing and is so fickle so as to deviate from the path without a moment's notice. Leaders are courageous and strong and know how to fight it out under unrelenting conditions.
Thus to sum it up, effective communication is like a movie trailer that gets the attention of the masses. After that lays the major responsibility of a leader - sustain the attention through proactive efforts and be constantly on the button to react appropriately as and when the situation demands.
Rahul Kumar writes about entrepreneurial topics while he completes his Masters in Management degree at the ESCP-EAP European School of Management. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi, India.
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