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Week 22 Communication

Week 22: Leadership & Communication

BUSI-1323 OB3: Leadership

Successful leadership is not possible
without effective communication

Role of Communication in Leadership
“The leadership relationship is fundamentally grounded in language and rooted in communication processes”
(Conger & Kanungo, 1998; Gardner & Avolio, 1998)

“Leaders don’t just need a mission –
equally important is how they communicate it”
(Conger, 1991)

Today’s Agenda

What is Effective Communication?
Framing by Leaders
Rhetoric & Delivery
Charismatic Leadership Language
Too much Charisma?

Follower Impact

Role of Language in Leadership
Language is learned social behaviour

Language has two roles:

– Communicate Ideas
– Negotiate Relationships

Framing by Leaders
If “leadership is the management of meaning”
(Smircich & Morgan, 1982)

“…then leadership can be defined as socially constructed, interactionist phenomenon where some (leaders)
attempt to frame and define the reality of others (followers)”
(Bligh & Hess, 2007)

Framing by Leaders
Def: Framing refers to the social construction
of a social phenomenon

Framing by Leaders. Framing is the leader’s interpretation of organisational purpose,
accompanying values, and beliefs (Conger, 1991)

Framing by Leaders
Why is framing so important?

Influences followers’ perceptions of an opportunity and its outcomes
Provides a map for action
Determines whether or not followers notice problems, how much they understand them,
how they evaluate, and act upon them

(Bligh & Hess, 2007; Conger, 1991)

Framing by Leaders
Values Amplification

Values: States of being / Modes of conduct
Value Amplification: Process of identifying and elevating certain values as basic to the overall
mission (Conger, 1991). People are inspired by values

Framing by Leaders
Beliefs Amplification

Beliefs: Ideas about which factors support or impede actions taken to achieve desired values
Belief Categories:

- Mission’s Importance
- Need for the Mission
- Antagonists of the Mission
- Efficacy of the Mission

 Why important?
 Why arisen?
 Who is against us?
 Why will we succeed?

Rhetoric & Delivery
The process by which message is communicated is just as important as the framing of it

Words; 7%
Tone; 38%

Body Language 55%

Rhetoric & Delivery
The process by which message is communicated is just as important as the framing of it

Rhetorical Crafting includes:


Repetition & Rhythm

- Analogies, Symbols, & Metaphors
- Stories
- Paralanguage
: Body Language & Tone of Voice

Rhetoric & Delivery
Voice (Tone, Speed, & Rhythm)
Margaret Thatcher learned to reduce the higher tone
of her voice over the years

Barack Obama uses rhythm to engage his audience
(builds the voice up + pauses)

Rhetoric & Delivery
Why are body language and voice so important?
Together, they contribute to 93% of communication and particularly important for
communicating feelings and attitude

They contribute to the liking of the person delivering the message (Mehrabian, 1971) and liking is a
principle of persuasion (Cialdini, 2001)

Rhetoric & Delivery
What happens when verbal & non-verbal are incongruent?
When nonverbal and verbal messages are in conflict, perceivers rely on the nonverbal
Issues of “Faking”

Charismatic Leaders
Charismatic leaders – who are visionary, sensitive to their environment and followers, admired,
and trustworthy – are communication experts

Emotional Expressiveness
Use of Metaphor

charismatic U.S. Presidents used twice as many as non-charismatic Presidents (Mio et al., 2005)

Verbal Imagery
Ability to tailor language to the audience

(Bligh & Hess, 2007)

Too Much Charisma?
Impact on Follower ‘Voice’
By examining the leader’s powerful demeanor as an antecedent to follower voice, research revealed
a leadership dilemma: the demeanor which leaders are encouraged to use because of its benefits to their image has
the unintended negative consequence of stifling follower voice

A leader’s powerful demeanour can diminish employee voice





which harms


Because the leader is perceived as more competent and

How to encourage follower voice?

Adopt a listening pose


Ask specific and probing questions
Explain why input is important


Wait in silence
Carefully consider opposing opinions

(Lock & Anderson, 2015)

Essential Rule of Communication:
Know your audience
Adapting Style, Not Just Content
Recipient Orientation

Style for Effective Message Delivery





(Cesario & Higgins, 2008)

Adaptability & Consistency
Changing communication style for different audiences is a characteristic of effective
leaders but, how can you change your style and still be the same person?

Authenticity is Essential
Authentic leaders are (George et al. (2007). Discovering your authentic leadership)

True to themselves
Motivated by personal convictions, rather than to attain personal benefits
Base their actions on values

Practical View on Authenticity (Goffee & Jones, 2006)

Clever conformity

The Essence of Adaptability

Adapt to

But retain your



Key Takeaways

Effective communication is at the heart of leadership
Rhetoric and framing are important leadership skills
Embed communication in values
Communication skills that can be learned (Conger, 1991)
Build authenticity so that you can adapt your style while being true to yourself


1) Chapter 7 & 9 (Daft)
2) Conger, J.A. 1991. Inspiring others: The language of leadership. Academy of Management
Executive, 5, 31-45.

Background Reading:
Tannen, D. (1995). The power of talk: Who gets heard and why. Harvard Business Review, 73(5b),


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