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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Supportive and Humanistic Leaders are More Effective



Both style and communication intertwine tightly around the effectiveness of leaders.  Reinout de Vries and Angelique Bakker-Pieper conducted research on 279 employees in government agencies to understand the communication styles on human-oriented and leadership outcomes  (2010). They used the six main communication styles of verbal aggressiveness, expressiveness, preciseness and assuredness, supportiveness and argumentativeness. 

Leadership communication style bases its effectiveness on the need to maximize hierarchical relationships to reach goals (Daft, 2003). Communication has a purpose and is goal oriented. Communication seeks to enhance and influence the environment in one form or another. The ultimate goal is often dependent on the leader who seeks either collective or self-gain. 

Communication is about knowledge sharing. It is a process where individuals exchange tacit and explicit information to create new knowledge (Van den Hoof and De Ridder, 2004). Communication helps participants bring forward new information and connect them together in ways that have more meaning for them. The more someone communicates with others the more they understand both the issues at hand and the potential solutions. 

Charismatic and human-oriented leadership correlated with perceived leadership performance, satisfaction with that leader, and employee’s commitment. Likewise, Leadership supportiveness had a strong correlation with knowledge sharing. Both styles were stronger than correlations with task-oriented leadership. 

The authors contend that leadership supportiveness appears to be the strongest communication approach and has positive associations with leadership styles and outcome.  This find makes sense if we consider that leadership is about influence and drawing people in through supportive, humanistic, and knowledge sharing behaviors that helps others solve their own problems and sets higher expectations.  Leaders who excessively focus on tasks may be less successful if their subordinates do not understand the greater purpose of the tasks, do not feel connected to it, and do not know how to achieve it. 

De Vries & Bakker-Pieper, W. (2010). Leadership=communication? The relations of leaders’ communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes. Journal of Business & Psychology, 25 (3)

Daft, R. (2003). Management (6th Edition). Cincinnati, Oh: South-West.

Van den Hoof & Hendrix, (2004). Eagerness and willingness to hare: the relevance of different attitudes towards knowledge sharing. Paper presented at the Fifth European Conference on Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Capabilities: Innsbruck, Australia.

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