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Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. The process entails a sender transmitting the idea, information, or feeling to the receiver. Effective communication occurs when the intended receiver understands this idea, information, or feeling in the way the sender intends. Poor communications, where the receiver fails to understand the idea, information, or feeling in the way the sender intends, or when the sender does not convey the idea, information, or feeling, causes various problems, creates confusion, and can cause good plans to fail.
How does leadership style affect group communication? Your leadership style affects the structure and effectiveness of group communication.
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Leadership Style that Promote Group Communication
A leadership style that is open and encourages creativity, innovation, a free flow of ideas, and information encourages and improves overall group communications.
The participative leadership style ranks among the best leadership style that promotes group communications. Participative leaders facilitate sharing of information and ideas and the leader considers all inputs from the group members before making a decision. Similarly, the democratic style of leadership encourages team members to indulge in open discussions before the leader guides the decision making process.
Visionary leaders thrive on communications. Such leaders work by motivating people toward a shared vision, and the motivation comes by communicating with the team members.
Another leadership style that promotes group communication includes transformational leadership style. The success of transformational leaders depends on creating a shared vision between the individual and the organization through the effective communication of the organizational vision and ways to achieve the vision. This communication has to appeal to the team members to motivate and rally them, and earn their enthusiasm.
The relationship of leadership style and communication extend to the structure of communication within the group. Democratic, participative, and transformational leadership styles encourage a decentralized structure of communications where each team member communicates to everyone else frequently. Such leadership styles promote group discussions. Other leaders such as coaching leaders who hold long conversations with employees to make them realize their strengths and weaknesses, and affiliate leaders who try to become friends with the team members, promote a centralized communication style where the team members communicate more with the leader rather than among team members. Such leadership styles promote one-to-one meetings.
Image Credit: flickr.com/M Gifford
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Leadership Styles That Impede Communication
Charismatic leadership tries to impress team members and enlist their devotion for the leader. This leadership style encourages communication that reinforces or promotes the leader’s ideas, information or feelings, but discourages communications that involve criticism or challenging the leader’s actions or decisions.
The leadership style that ignores group communication most is the autocratic leadership style. Autocratic leaders encourage only one way communication by directing or giving instructions to the group on what to do. Autocratic leadership thrives in a system with formal hierarchies, clearly defines roles and responsibilities, and a routine pattern of work. Such a system does not place a premium on group communication.
Some quiet leaders who lead from the front remain successful in their accomplishment of tasks. They prefer action over words and expect employees to understand what is required by themselves, without spending time making the employees understand what is expected from them. This has an impact on the communication among the group by increasing informal communication as team members talk to one another to understand what the leader wants while decreasing formal communication.
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To answer the question how does leadership style affect group communication, the success of a leader depends largely on the leader's communication style and the extent to which the leader promotes effective communications within the team, among other factors.