It is widely accepted that language is a means of communication, but it is also an instrument of persuasion. Leaders have to have excellent communication skills to articulate their points and inspire or encourage their followers (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). People have tried to master this skill and created numerous works concerning communication and persuasive methods (Ruben & Gigliotti, 2016). Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) claim that the language of leadership consists of such basic elements as language and personality. It is critical for a leader to understand what to say and how to do it under different circumstances. This paper dwells upon the major features of the language of leadership.
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Communication entails sharing information, while leadership communication is associated with influencing people’s thoughts and behaviors. Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) emphasize that belief is central to the success of leadership communication, which makes the trustworthiness of the leader essential. Leaders must tell the truth on a daily basis to earn their followers’ trust. The authors also add that content is important, but leaders have to pay attention to past, existing, or emerging contexts (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). Contexts are relevant due to the peculiarities of people’s perception as individuals tend to disbelief others, so they may be unwilling to follow if they do not trust the leader. The power of contexts is specifically apparent in culturally diverse working environments.
Apart from telling the truth and paying attention to contexts, the leader has to use intelligible language. Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) mention a formula for effective communication developed in the 1990s. The pattern is as follows: “speaker > encoding > message > decoding > listener” (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014, p. 156). Arendt, Pircher Verdorfer, and Kugler (2019) add that mindfulness is instrumental in choosing the most appropriate patterns. The speaker should ensure that the listener will be able to decode the message, so appropriate language has to be utilized.
In order to improve leadership communication skills, it is necessary to receive feedback. Speakers can gain feedback during personal communication with listeners or during discussions with different groups (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). Apart from internal feedback collection, it is important to obtain external feedback. Social media have become an effective tool to identify people’s views and attitudes, as well as gain their feedback (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). Numerous social networks and blogs serve as the platform for this kind of knowledge sharing.
It is necessary to add that digital instruments have become an integral part of people’s communication, so the business world is also characterized by the extensive use of digital tools. Emails are now widely used as a means of corporate communication, and leaders often resort to this digital option (Ruben & Gigliotti, 2019). Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) state that such instruments should not become dominant as instant communication is gaining momentum in contemporary society. It is also beneficial to introduce new contexts and add credibility by using links to other digital sources (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). The use of links can help leaders address the context challenge and build trusting relationships with followers.
At this point, it is necessary to consider the role of personality in communication. This element of leadership communication is critical and cannot be ignored (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). The leader’s personal traits have an impact on the way communication occurs and the effects it has on followers. Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) stress that presence is one of the best methods to establish the necessary relationships between the leader and followers. Being among employees and talking to them regularly can help in identifying existing or upcoming problems and challenges to address (Clohisy, Yaszemski, & Lipman, 2017).
Effective communication presupposes sharing ideas and building shared values, which is done on a daily basis. Again, presence is instrumental in exploring contexts and developing appropriate communication and behavioral patterns.
Another helpful formula suggested by Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) can assist in developing effective communication. When preparing for a presentation, the leaders should ask three fundamental questions: “What, so what, and now what?” (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014, p. 162). The speaker has to make sure that the message is intelligible and appropriate language is employed. Furthermore, the leader needs to articulate the relevance of the message for the audience. Finally, an effective leader will always show the way so that followers could understand what to do.
After the preparation, it is essential to present the information properly. The leader should be an actor who is aware of some tips. The speaker must be authentic, expressive, and emphatic to create the necessary atmosphere (Harrison & Mühlberg, 2014). The use of voice, gestures and even posture are critical for effective presentation (Ruben & Gigliotti, 2019). Harrison and Mühlberg (2014) provide a valuable piece of advice for companies stating that leaders should be trained to be effective communicators. External trainers, rather than coaches, will make leaders effective presenters.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the language of leadership is a critical skill for modern leaders. Leaders should remember two primary components: language and personality. It is not enough (although vital) to use the right words, but it is important to deliver the speech effectively. Moreover, leaders should be individuals who are visible, emphatic, and trusted. Only such people can lead others and make them committed to organizational goals.
Arendt, J. F. W., Pircher Verdorfer, A., & Kugler, K. G. (2019). Mindfulness and leadership: Communication as a behavioral correlate of leader mindfulness and its effect on follower satisfaction. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. Web.
Clohisy, D. R., Yaszemski, M. J., & Lipman, J. (2017). Leadership, communication, and negotiation across a diverse workforce. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 99(12), 1-5. Web.
Harrison, E. B., & Mühlberg, J. (2014). Leadership communication: How leaders communicate and how communicators lead in the today’s global enterprise. New York, NY: Business Expert Press.
Ruben, B. D., & Gigliotti, R. A. (2016). Leadership as social influence. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 23(4), 467-479. Web.
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Ruben, B. D., & Gigliotti, R. A. (2019). Leadership, communication, and social influence. Bingley, England: Emerald Publishing Limited.