Leadership is the ability of an individual to lead a group of people or an organization. Leadership plays a significant role in the growth of an individual. The ability to be a good leader opens several doors of opportunity and growth. A leader is bestowed upon with the responsibility of motivating team members, guiding them, being their mentor and leading by example (Arnold & Boggs, 2015). There are several attributes of an individual’s personality that make him or her a good leader. Leadership had always been important to me as I encountered several leadership roles and opportunities in my life. These opportunities have shaped my personality for the better. This report throws light upon certain attributes of my personality that I would like to change in order to be a better leader. Through this course, I have been able to reflect upon my leadership abilities. This has helped me in identifying my weaknesses as a leader.
The first area of leadership that I would like to make a more effective contribution to is communication. Communication is a significant aspect of leadership. A great leader must be able to efficiently communicate with followers. In fact the role of communication within any organization has been largely underrated. It is now that researchers and experts have been able to understand the significance of communication in the business.
With time, the business environment as well as organizational cultures are also largely changing. Gone are the days where businesses were highly centralized and communication was minimum. Today individual stakeholders of the business are involved in the decision making processes and leaders of the business cheer for transparency of information throughout the organization (Boies, Fiset & Gill, 2015). Therefore communication forms the very backbone over which the business functions. This is why it is imperative that the leaders of the business possess excellent communication skills.
Stakeholder management is a critical responsibility of an organization’s leader. Stakeholders include all the individuals that are associated with the business. Stakeholders can be external or internal to the environment. For long term sustainability of any business, it is recommended that the stakeholders of the business are effectively managed (Bolden, 2016). In order to achieve that, communication is very important. It is effective communication bridges the gap between stakeholders’ needs and the organization’s management.
Communication as an area of leadership fosters creativity and innovation in the business. It also helps the leader in dealing with uncertainty and addressing existing issues with effectiveness and efficacy (Headman, 2016). As mentioned before, organizational cultures are changing. With the advent of organizational communication and transparency, different stakeholders participate in the decision making process. During this process, it is only effective and competent communication among the concerned stakeholders that leads to innovation and creativity in the business (Men, 2014). Communication breeds ground for people to think out of the box, step out of their comfort zone and experiment. A new idea introduced by any employee in the business is discussed with the team. The high levels of decentralization has also allowed employees to debate over new ideas, critically analyse them and then innovatively implement them in the business. Therefore communication is highly essential for any organization to remain creative. The leaders of the business must definitely be able to communicate in a manner that encourages employees to be creative and innovate with new ideas leading to the growth of the business. Such factors also lead to increased risk appetite of the business as well as an improved organizational culture.
The team dynamics as well as the group culture is largely dependent on the team’s leader. A leader is bestowed upon with the responsibility of ensuring a positive team culture and an optimistic working environment for the entire team (Brandt, 2016). In order to achieve this, conflicts and issues must be addressed hands on and actions must be taken to resolve the same. Communication again, plays a significant role in addressing team conflicts. Similarly, an organization is often faced with uncertain scenarios. During such situations too, transparent communication among team members is highly important. It helps people in working together with effective coordination and facing the uncertain situation head on in the most productive and profitable manner. A lack of communication in such situations would allow the issue to take the better of the business and the impact of the same can be gigantic. Therefore it is very important that employees of the organization as well as other stakeholders are encouraged to indulge in transparent communicate with each other. This not only improves business culture but also helps organizations in facing unexpected situations effectively.
The role of communication in any organization is highly critical. This is why I would surely like to work upon this ability of mine and improve my communication skills so that as a leader I am able to lead my team in unexpected situation, in the face of conflict and ensure that my team can coordinate efficiently and accomplish shared goals. This is why my development goal is to improve my communication skills. This includes both verbal as well as written communication (Mikkelson, York & Arritola, 2015). As a leader, I should be able to communicate with my team members, guide them, be a mentor for them, understand them and address the issues faced by them. Poor communication also takes a toll of the confidence of an individual. A leader must always be confident so that the team members can look up to the leader and be inspired (Kouzes, 2014). If the leader is not confident then he or she will never be able to lead by example. This is why I wish to improve my communication skills as I am sure that this will also help me in addressing the problem of lack of confidence.
If I will be able to develop and improve upon my communication skills, I am sure I would be a more confident leader. As a leader with good communication, I will ensure that there is absolute transparency of communication within the entire team. Leadership is not just about giving orders and having your team members follow them. Rather, effective leadership is about building strong and solid relationships with those in the team and be their guide and mentor. This is only possible with communication. Therefore upon improving my communication skills, I would ensure that I am there for my team. Through communication, I would also try to build a strong bond with them. This would help me in getting to know them better and hence I would be able to effectively contribute as a leader in their lives.
Upon improving my communication skills and being more confident, I would also lead my team by example. A leader must always lead by example. This results in increased trust in the leader’s ability by the team members. A lot of time, new age organizations have witnessed a lack of respect for leaders. This is because even leaders must be able to earn respect from their team members rather than simply expecting the team to respect them owing to their designation (Shamir & Shamir, 2018). Therefore in order to earn respect, leaders must lead by example and prove their competence to their team members. I am sure that improving my communication skills and level of confidence will positively contribute to my leadership as it will help me in leading by example.
Feedback is important for the growth of any individual. Great leaders always aim to improve themselves as well as their followers. Therefore a good leader must always offer feedback to his or her team members so that they can identify their weaknesses and improve upon the same. Leaders across the business must be able to offer feedback to their team members. Offering feedback is not always as easy as it sounds. It required highly competent communication skills. Not every leader is meant for difficult conversations. But with improved communication, I hope I will be able to offer feedback to my team members. This would ensure their long term growth and sustainability in the business.
Another important responsibility of the leader is to set goals for the team as well as for individual members of the team. Setting goals is a critical task and requires time and effort. But most importantly, the process of setting clear and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound) goals requires communication between the leader and the team members. This ensures that the goals that are being set for individual members are SMART in nature. At the same time, if the goals for team members are set post a transparent communication between the leader and team members then they are all the way more accountable to achieve those goals (Rosenbach, 2018). Therefore, upon improving my communication skills, I would be able to also enhance my leadership ability to set clear goals for individual team members. In the long run, this would lead to improved organizational performance and team’s effectiveness.
Given the importance of communication skills for effective leadership, I have decided to work upon myself and improve my communication ability. There are certain steps that can be taken to accomplish the same and hence I have devised an action plan which will guide me in improving my ability to communicate. The action plan has been finalized post discussion with my teacher, family members, friends and my project partner. Through this process, I have been able to seek feedback on the plan.
Reading plays a vital role in an individual’s communication skills. Several people mentioned to me that I must start reading books, journals, articles or blog in order to enhance my communication skills. Reading books develop individual grammar and vocabulary in a very interesting manner. Therefore I have decided that I would surely try to spend a small part of the day in reading books or blogs from the internet.
Understanding the audience is a key to communicate effectively. Therefore as a leader, I would like to know and understand my team members and make sure they are comfortable. There are different ways of communicating with a different audience. Hence as a leader, I would try to identify the form and mode of communication that my team members are comfortable with.
There are several workshops that take place online as well as in learning centres. The aim of these workshops is to make people comfortable with communicating, ensuring that people can communicate effectively and to basically enhance the quality of communication in an individual’s life. I would surely plan to attend these workshops and see if they are effective or not.
One of the most basic principle of effective communication is honesty and integrity. For any communication to take place in a transparent and trustworthy manner, it is important that the people involved are honest with each other and have faith in each other. As a leader, I would surely try to work towards bringing in transparency in the team. I would be honest with my team members and ensure that we as a team can trust one another.
One of the most important things that I learnt through a course is that non-verbal communication is also a significant part of communication. Our body language, gestures, pose and hand movements also impact the quality of the conversations that we have with people. I would surely learn more about this non-verbal communication and work towards ensuring that I can make people that I communicate with comfortable. There are several workshops as well as online videos and tutorials to learn non-verbal communication.
For a leader, it is critical to time communication. The leader must be able to understand what to speak when and to whom. This timing is critical and must be understood. Consistent feedback is also the key to improving communication skills. As an individual as well as a leader, I would continually seek feedback upon my communication skills. I would take the feedback positively so that I can work upon it and improve my ability to be a good communicator and a good leader.
As an individual, I have always been a relatively shy and introvert person. This is why I feel a lack of confidence in communicating with other people. However, in order to improve upon my communication skills, I would try my best to communicate more with people and make myself with the idea of communication. As leaders, people have to communicate and deal with different kinds of people and hence it is important the leader is comfortable in communicating with people.
While conducting meetings (team or individual), I would surely be prepared and take into account small details like planning for the meeting, structuring the meeting, writing down important points, summarizing the meeting, sending an agenda before the meeting and timing my meetings effectively. This would help me communicate better in my meetings with my team members.
Most importantly maintaining a positive attitude is central to be a good communicator. I would try my best to be optimistic and treat people with respect. This would help me in interacting with people with dignity and will also help people in being comfortable with me.
As an individual or as a leader, it is important that people are open to learning. Hence I would ensure that I am open to learning and if I am face any problems owing to my communication skills, I would accept it openly and address it in an honest manner. This would help me learn from my mistakes and will be guiding light for the future.
Communication is central to leadership and this is why I have decided to work upon my ability to communicate with people. I am sure that improving my communication skills will helping me in becoming a better leader and fostering innovation and creativity in the business. Effective communication brings in transparency in the organization and allows direction to information. Communication is also critical to the organization’s culture. A leader must be able to communicate with efficacy, assertiveness and dignity. This would help the entire team in creating a culture of open communication, trust and honesty. Communication is also pivotal to setting clear goals and addressing issues with hinder the accomplishment of these goals.
Communication skills can be improved by sheer dedication, continued efforts and consistent feedback. I have decided to indulge in reading more, being more prepared, practicing my communications and seeking feedback from others in order to improve my communication skills. I am sure that these skills would be pivotal to my leadership abilities and would assist me in my growth and development as a leader and as an individual.
Arnold, E.C. and Boggs, K.U., 2015. Interpersonal Relationships-E-Book: Professional Communication Skills for Nurses. Elsevier Health Sciences. United Kingdom.
Boies, K., Fiset, J. and Gill, H., 2015. Communication and trust are key: Unlocking the relationship between leadership and team performance and creativity. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(6), pp.1080-1094.
Bolden, R., 2016. Leadership, management and organisational development. In Gower handbook of leadership and management development (pp. 143-158). Routledge. United Kingdom.
Brandt, T, 2016. Transformational leadership and communication style of Finnish CEOs. Communication Research Reports, 33(2), pp.119-127.
Hedman, E., 2016. Leadership Team Tool for better meaning making: Developing leadership team communication and reflexivity. Journal of Management Development, 35(5), pp.592-605.
Kouzes, J.M., 2014. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership-Technology (Vol. 292). John Wiley & Sons. United States.
Men, L.R., 2014. Strategic internal communication: Transformational leadership, communication channels, and employee satisfaction. Management Communication Quarterly, 28(2), pp.264-284.
Mikkelson, A.C., York, J.A. and Arritola, J., 2015. Communication competence, leadership behaviors, and employee outcomes in supervisor-employee relationships. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 78(3), pp.336-354.
Rosenbach, W.E., 2018. Contemporary issues in leadership. Routledge. United Kingdom.
Shamir, B. and Eilam-Shamir, G., 2018. “What’s your story?” A life-stories approach to authentic leadership development. In Leadership Now: Reflections on the Legacy of Boas Shamir(pp. 51-76). Emerald Publishing Limited. India.
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