Communicative Leadership in Organisations

Why all leaders must learn to communicate better.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

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Communicative lead­er­ship is a require­ment for all leaders.

I some­times make the argu­ment that we need more lead­ers than we have. 1Silfwer, J. (2023, March 23). Overcoming the Leadership Gap (With Fewer Leaders). Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​l​e​a​d​e​r​s​h​i​p​-​g​ap/

  • In most organ­isa­tions, weak lead­ers out­num­ber strong lead­ers by a stag­ger­ing majority.

So, how do we make this equa­tion work? In short, all lead­ers must learn to com­mu­nic­ate better.

Here we go:

Enter: Communicative Leadership

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Communicative Leadership

Is excel­lent com­mu­nic­a­tion an out­come of out­stand­ing lead­er­ship? Or is strong lead­er­ship a product of excel­lent com­mu­nic­a­tion? Either way, all lead­ers should pri­or­it­ise devel­op­ing their com­mu­nic­a­tion skills.

Good Communicative Leadership

What is required from com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers? According to Catrin Johansson, Vernon Miller and Solange Hamrin: 2Johansson, C., Miller, V. D., & Hamrin, S. (2011, October 15). Communicative Leadership: Theories, Concepts, and Central Communication Behaviors. Demicom, Department of Media and Communication, … Continue read­ing

  • Communicative lead­ers coach and enable employ­ees to be self-managing. 
  • Communicative lead­ers provide struc­tures that facil­it­ate the work. 
  • Communicative lead­ers set clear expect­a­tions for qual­ity, pro­ductiv­ity, and professionalism. 
  • Communicative lead­ers are approach­able, respect­ful, and express con­cern for employees. 
  • Communicative lead­ers act­ively engage in prob­lem-solv­ing, fol­low up on feed­back, and advoc­ate for the unit. 
  • Communicative lead­ers con­vey dir­ec­tion and assist oth­ers in achiev­ing their goals. 
  • Communicative lead­ers act­ively engage in the fram­ing of mes­sages and events. 
  • Communicative lead­ers enable and sup­port sensemaking.

Poor Communicative Leadership

Conversely, non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers are typ­ic­ally dis­tin­guished by these characteristics:

  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers keep inform­a­tion from their teams in an attempt to assert power. 
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers use pass­ive aggres­sion to shame their teams into per­form­ing better.
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers blame their teams for poor out­comes but take the cred­it for them­selves when things go well.
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers use praise sub­ject­ively and stra­tegic­ally instead of object­ively and fairly.
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers add lay­ers between them­selves and the prac­tic­al out­comes, like addi­tion­al lay­ers of unne­ces­sary man­agers or meetings.
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers are pla­cing their careers before the careers of their teams.
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers exclude their teams from par­ti­cip­at­ing dir­ectly in mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sions; they need to place them­selves in a pos­i­tion to fil­ter and manip­u­late any feed­back from the group.
  • Non-com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­ers are hos­tile towards new ideas from sub­or­din­ates because they believe that any­thing that bene­fits someone beneath them­selves in the organ­isa­tion­al hier­archy is a poten­tial threat to their position.

Learn more: Communicative Leadership in Organisations

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Checklist for Communicative Leadership

The single biggest prob­lem in com­mu­nic­a­tion is the illu­sion that it has taken place.”
— George Bernard Shaw

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The Checklist for Communicative Leadership

How can you ensure your lead­er­ship is express­ive and pre­cise in prac­tic­al situations? 

As a rule of thumb:

  • It’s gen­er­ally bet­ter to “over-com­mu­nic­ate” (tol­er­able added effort) than “under-com­mu­nic­ate” (sub­stan­tial added risk).

Make sure to pass these com­mu­nic­at­ive lead­er­ship checks:

  • This is what we are doing.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?
  • This is why we are doing it.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?
  • This is who will be doing it.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?
  • This is how we are doing it.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?
  • This is when we are doing it.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?
  • This is where we are doing it.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?
  • This is for whom we are doing it.
    Is the explan­a­tion clear? Do you have ques­tions? Can you repeat the inform­a­tion back to me?

Being a great lead­er can be a daunt­ing task. However, with effort (and atten­tion to detail), all lead­ers can prac­tice express­ive and pre­cise communication.

Expressive and pre­cise com­mu­nic­a­tion styles have a stronger link to lead­er out­comes than per­son­al­ity traits extra­ver­sion and con­scien­tious­ness.”
Source: Human Performance 3Bakker-Pieper, A., & Vries, R. (2013). The Incremental Validity of Communication Styles Over Personality Traits for Leader Outcomes. Human Performance, 26, 1 — … Continue read­ing

Learn more: The Checklist for Communicative Leadership

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Thanks for read­ing. Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing art­icles with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als. You might also con­sider my PR ser­vices or speak­ing engage­ments.

PR Resource: Communicative Leadership

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Take advant­age of this Free Leadership PR Course to sharpen your pub­lic rela­tions skills and become a con­fid­ent and influ­en­tial lead­er in any industry.

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PR Resource: Existentialism and Leadership

Soren Kierkegaard.
Fotografi efter bly­ant­stegn­ing ca. 1840 af Søren Kierkegaard. (Credit: Wikipedia)
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Existentialism: Thought Leadership, Advisory, and Education

Regarding thought lead­er­ship, advis­ory, and edu­ca­tion, I often remind myself of the beau­ti­ful words of the Danish exist­en­tial­ist Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855): 4Søren Kierkegaard. (2023, November 27). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard

If one is truly to suc­ceed in lead­ing a per­son to a spe­cif­ic place, one must first and fore­most take care to find him where he is and begin there.

This is the secret in the entire art of help­ing.

Anyone who can­not do this is him­self under a delu­sion if he thinks he is able to help someone else. In order truly to help someone else, I must under­stand more than he — but cer­tainly first and fore­most under­stand what he under­stands.

If I do not do that, my great­er under­stand­ing does not help him. If I nev­er­the­less want to assert my great­er under­stand­ing, then it is because I am vain or proud, then basic­ally instead of bene­fit­ing him I really want to be admired by him.

But all true help­ing begins with a hum­bling.

The help­er must first humble him­self under the per­son he wants to help and thereby under­stand that to help is not to dom­in­ate but to serve, that to help is a not to be the most dom­in­at­ing but the most patient, that to help is a will­ing­ness for the time being to put up with being in the wrong and not under­stand­ing what the oth­er under­stands.”
— Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855)

Servitude is the found­a­tion for suc­cess for all aspir­ing thought lead­ers, advisers, salespeople, and educators.

Learn more: Existentialism for PR Advisers

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Silfwer, J. (2023, March 23). Overcoming the Leadership Gap (With Fewer Leaders). Doctor Spin | The PR Blog. https://​doc​tor​spin​.net/​l​e​a​d​e​r​s​h​i​p​-​g​ap/
2 Johansson, C., Miller, V. D., & Hamrin, S. (2011, October 15). Communicative Leadership: Theories, Concepts, and Central Communication Behaviors. Demicom, Department of Media and Communication, Mid Sweden University.
3 Bakker-Pieper, A., & Vries, R. (2013). The Incremental Validity of Communication Styles Over Personality Traits for Leader Outcomes. Human Performance, 26, 1 — 19. https://​doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​0​8​0​/​0​8​9​5​9​2​8​5​.​2​0​1​2​.​7​3​6​900
4 Søren Kierkegaard. (2023, November 27). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations obviously; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that it's good to have hobbies outside work.

The cover photo has

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