Interpersonal Communication Application to Leadership

Interpersonal Communication Application to Leadership

Corinth M. Evans (Atlantic Technical College, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch022
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The purpose of this chapter is to study the elements of communication, and to explore the interrelations of interpersonal communication and effective leadership applications. Thanks to the leadership evolution, divergent leadership methodologies have rejuvenated classical studies. An empirical analysis of leadership traits, behaviors, characteristics, types, and styles (e.g., approaches) will be reviewed. Given the theories of leadership, a critical analysis on power and influence are also necessary to understand the sensitivities and delicacies of the leader-follower relationships. Because speaking, listening, writing, and reading are the basic forms of communication, the dynamics of communication is fundamental and an integral element to effective leadership application. Executives, directors, mangers, other leadership staffers, will find this chapter interesting as it aims to link the ideologies of communication-centered and interpersonal trust perspectives to leadership theologies. When analyzing the pragmatics of interpersonal communication, this chapter will examine the behavioral, attitudinal, cognitive-perceptual, and psychosocial processes that attribute to the communicable factors of one's thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions, motives, attitudes, behaviors, and actions. This chapter may assist leaders in developing social and emotional intelligences. With the relentless pressure to change an organization, emotional and social intelligences give us an entirely new way of looking at the root causes of organizational dysfunctions. The scope and depth of EI and SI, employs interpersonal interactions that cultivates trust and continuity through an exchange of meaningful messages.
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Communication and interpersonal communication are simultaneously complex and ubiquitous. However, interpersonal communication fosters positive relationships of any kind (e.g., friends, family, and colleagues). Without it or its lack thereof, will result in poor morale, dissatisfaction, distrust, and will cause a relationship to weaken and deteriorate over time. For any organization to operate efficiently, effective communication is critical regardless of the size and industry. If the necessary information or messages are not thoroughly conveyed, misunderstandings are likely to arise. Poor communication can lead to costly mistakes, impede development, hinder change, and fuel distrust.

This chapter asserts that an interpersonal communication approach to effective leadership practices helps develop and sustain quality work-relationships. A high level of interpersonal communication supports social responsibility, cooperation, an ethic of care, climate of trust, supportiveness, and an open and free exchange of ideas. We rely on Abraham Maslow’s (1959) third step within the Hierarchy of Needs model – love and belonging -- to understand the social need that motivates human behavior. Maslow’s states that human needs are met when people have experienced a high level of self-actualization. This includes, but is not limited to a sense of acceptance, affection, belongingness, safety, security, respect, confidence, and competency just to mention a few. In situations involving interactions with others, there are socio-psychology and emotional connections within the social stage that speak directly to interpersonal activity.

For decades, scholars have extensively offered theoretical research regarding leadership traits, behaviors, characteristics, types, and styles (e.g., approaches). And while the evolution of leadership elements will continually to be studied by many practitioners, we know that the importance of communication is critical to the application of effective leadership.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge Sharing: Knowledge sharing is the disclosure of viable information and experiences. The purpose of knowledge sharing is to contribute to knowledge continuity within an organization where employees have mutual trust, and are willing to communicate, consult, and exchange information. Leaders who infuse the knowledge sharing component, understand the dynamics of an ever changing global environment, the importance of inaugurating a proactive commitment to foresee potential threatening patterns of concerns, problem solving, and implementing policies and procedures that are affiliated with change, and create new innovations aligned to the vision. This will ultimately position an organization to maintain a competitive advantage. While the knowledge shared can be tactic and/or explicit, it can challenge the delivery of information depending on the contexts and intersubjectivity .

Climate of Trust: The climate of trust is an environment that cultivates mutual respect, honesty, and open communication. Leaders who recognize the value of employees, understand the importance and applicability of uniformity, cooperation, compromise within work relationships. Often times, people experience frustrations, doubts, and hesitations due to various reasons in work environments, however fostering a climate of trust promotes a safe, nonthreatening, and transparent atmosphere where information is shared, collaboration encouraged and team building is implemented. When an organization infrastructure endures changes, this intimidating factor can lead to some social resistance, which can either embrace or defer growth and development.

Social Intelligence: Social intelligence (e.g. SI) involves an exclusive human connectivity that navigates through social complexities of various groups, relationships and contextual environments, while understanding one’s intentions, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. In this chapter, SI is useful in assisting leaders in choosing the appropriate course of action, given the contingencies of milieu.

Interpersonal Communication: Interpersonal communication implies an exchange of information from the receiver and sender through text, verbal, and non-verbal messaging that are informal and personable. People who interact in this communication process, express communicable factors that attribute to their thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions, motives, attitudes, behaviors, and actions. Interpersonal skills are acquired by interacting with others. Interpersonal communication is needed to repair and build work-relationships, solve problems, and facilitate change.

Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence (e.g. EI) is the ability to comprehend one’s own emotions and the emotions of another. For this chapter, emotional intelligence acts as a discriminate guide that allows leaders to use of information to be facilitated through thinking, behavior, development, and decision making. It involves a sense of self-consciousness and emotion awareness that allows one to tap into their own emotions and the emotions of others.

Leadership: Leadership is a balanced act of influencing the direction of others, while also providing support, empowerment, and development for their followers. Because leaderships is comprised of several dimensions, we lean on the quality characteristics distinguished within the various types of leadership styles discussed in this chapter. Given the turbulence of change in an environment, great leaders seek to establish an equilibrium that is congruent with the facilitation of change. To be effective long-term and relevant, organizations that learn and understand how to cope with systemic change tactically, sufficiently, and purposefully are fertilizing the growth potential, and position themselves in the ever changing global economy.

Ethic of Care: The ethic of care refers to the particularity of relations that is concerned with the welfare of humanity. The since of caring involves moral relativism in decision making, and is charged with a universal commitment and responsibility to the wellbeing of others.

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