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Communication in Leadership Roles, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Technology is changing the ways that people and business communicate with one another. Email messages have taken the place of weekly meetings, and telecommuting to places of employment has become standard in a lot of tech jobs. There are many different forms of leadership with varying degrees of application in the business world. Communication in a leadership role, however, is key to becoming effective a business manger. In all leadership roles (e.g. emergent, situational, true authentic, etc.) the key component to personality archetype is proper communication. This paper will focus on three different leadership roles and how communication is handled, presented, executed through technological advancements by each.

Emergent

Emergent leadership hinges on a leader’s ability to inspire a group, or a person, to venture forth. They are the rabble-rousers of the corporate world. This means that they are extreme type A personalities; willing to go the distance, do whatever it takes to succeed and inspire the same in their team, and/or employees. Thus, the typical standards by which a leader is measured, such as performance reviews, or quantified measurements, aren’t applicable. The emergent leader is savvy to new technological feats especially in the area of communication: this is true for not only business techniques but strategies and ideas as well (MacFarland, 2013, para. 4).

Emergent leaders are the crux of incorporating new technologies into the business world’s way of communicating. They champion new technologies such as LinkedIn for hiring purposes. Emergent leaders can use LinkedIn (or advocate its use) in order to re-create a company’s image. This can be done through emergent leadership by initializing the use of LinkedIn by the Human Resources Department.

LinkedIn is a genius way for emergent leaders to re-create the company’s HR image: the HR hiring committee can use LinkedIn to pool from an already set standard of skills necessary for an open job and use LinkedIn’s built-in filters to pick from a successful pool of candidates. This is done through LinkedIn’s own analytics and their promotional tool (in which previous employers recommend a skill on LinkedIn from a previous employee). Since this tool is very innovative and represents out-of-the-box thinking, the emergent leader will have no problem advocating it’s use because it’s a great way for a company to increase potential employees and to choose the best one for the job. Thus, the emergent leader is brining creativity and efficiency to the HR department. The arcane fashions in which HR hires people now (pooling through hundreds of resumes with similar skills, and spending countless hours shuffling through the candidates) becomes obsolete with LinkedIn. It is a more efficient tool to use for hiring and because of this, its advocacy by emergent leaders is expected. Thus, emergent leaders have generated new employersby allowing HR representatives to communicate to this pool through an up-to-date, technological savvy system. The emergent leader, who literally leads the group, is one of the more influential leaders in this trio; “The individual acquires emergent leadership through other people in the organization who support and accept that individual’s behavior” (Northouse, 2013, p. 8). Thus, this type of leader cannot function in a vacuum, and therefore finds companionship, or teambuilding exercises and endeavors more akin to their skills.

Situational

Situational leaders are called upon during certain crises at the office, so there is no “one size fits all” (Blanchard & Hersey, 1996, p. 1) when it comes to leadership models, but instead focus on “identify the most important tasks, diagnose the readiness level of the followers, [and] decide the matching leadership style” (Blanchard & Hersey, 1996, p. 1). Situational leaders are divided into different types: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating. Even these are sub-categorized into willingness and ability (Northouse, 2013, p. 99). Directing is “often used when the issue is serious or comes with drastic consequences if not successful. The leader maintains a directive position to ensure all required actions are completed” (Blanchard & Hersey, 1996, p. 1). Coaching is a little different than directing as it pertains to both the leader and the team, “have high willingness but low ability for the task at hand. Like Directing, Coaching still requires leaders to define roles and tasks clearly, but the leader seeks ideas and suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader’s prerogative, but communication is much more two-way. Followers needing coaching require direction and supervision because they are still relatively inexperienced, but they also need support and praise to build their self-esteem, andinvolvement in decision-making to restore their commitment. While Coaching, the leader spends time listening, advising, and helping the follower gain necessary skills in order to do the task autonomously next time”(Blanchard & Hersey, 1996, p. 1). Supporting is important to leadership and works best when “the follower can do the job, but is refusing to do it or showing a lack of commitment. The leader need not worry about showing them what to do, but instead should be concerned with finding out why the followers are refusing and work to persuade them to cooperate. The key to supportive leadership is motivating and building confidence in people! Clarification on the details of the process won’t matter, as the follower already knows what to do but lacks the motivation to act. Supportive leadership involves listening, giving praise and making the followers feel good when they show the necessary commitments for success” (Blanchard & Hersey, 1996, p. 1). Mainly, this form of leadership is exemplary of an adaptive style.

Since this type of leadership is more adept in an adaptive style, then it is more often called upon from a person in an organization. A situational leader will assess their task force team on their competency and their commitment. Thus, when reviewing leaders for roles in a technologically savvy company, it’s important to bring onboard leaders that will share the company’s vision in this new and exciting platforms. In order to do this, a situational leader must be both directive and supportive when initiating new forms of communication. For instance, when trying to incorporate the use of FaceBook as a means to stay in touch with a company’s consumer/client, the situational leader has to have a team hand-picked by them with people who share the vision for the company. Being innovative means pushing forward, and a lot of times this means leaving established habits behind, habits that employees have grown comfortable with using.

A situational leader will help their team members with directions and setting goals. One key to this type of leadership is to be organized. Organization helps to have direct goals in mind, and to make sure that every step the team takes is a step closer to those goals and in theory, to the end result. For instance, by using the company’s Facebook page to monitor their social media profile, the company may find new ways to represent the company, or else, find out what’s not working. In order to allow Facebook to be part of a company, however, may take some convincing. The company may be able to determine their popularity with a specific product by having a situational leader organize a team whose task it is to determine what’s working and what’s not working for the company. This can be done by monitoring “likes” on a page, or by seeing what clients, consumers, and other Facebook users are saying about a particular product. A situational leader will instantly recognize the benefits of this because such information is instantaneous.

A situational leader would best be suited in finding and utilizing social media like Facebook because it calls for something different on a daily basis. The company may suffer a momentary setback with a bad review from a blog or another online newspaper and this negative press can be instantly curtailed through the situational leader’s task force. The team may utilize the Facebook page as a means to communicate to their customers the reason for the bad review. This may come in handy because, as mentioned, the information is instantaneous, and the information’s pervasive. If the bad review is in relation to a botched product line, the company’s Facebook page may make mention that if the consumer brings in the product to the store they will get a full refund plus an extra something (be it a free product, or something similar). Thus, the situational leader was able to effectively utilize their task force through technological communication.

True Authentic

Finally there is the true authentic leader. The true authentic leader may be the best form of leader to use when discussing communication and technology for the authentic leader is one who doesn’t follow anyone else’s footsteps. This may come in handy when dealing with technology because innovation is key to utilizing technology to the utmost of a company’s capabilities. The true authentic leader adheres to six principles, “gaining self-awareness, practicing values under pressure, balancing motivations (intrinsic and extrinsic), building a support team, staying grounded (by integrating life) and understanding passions and purpose in leadership” (George, 2007, p. 14). Being a true authentic leader means being flexible: being flexible in a technological capacity is a needed quality when talking about communication. Thus, when a leader looks for new ways to do old things, they are allowing for innovation. True authentic leaders seek ways to improve upon old regimes, and there’s no better way to do this than through technology and it’s use on a business scheme, as Northouse (2013) states, authentic leadership is “measured with a theory-based instrument” (p.283).

Conclusion

The point of having leaders in business for proper communication when it comes to technology is to create organization. Leaders help teams generate ideas, they enforce the company’s motto and goals, and they venture forth into new territory. All of these items are essential for a company in today’s modern, technological age. As technology advances not just in a matter of years but in a matter of months (systems are updating on a faster and faster paced scale), companies need to keep up, and they need to do this in a way that appeals to their consumer and adheres to the traditions of the company. As technology changes, so too must the company. In order for a leader to keep up to these technological advancements, the leader must be knowledgeable about their company and about these advancements. There is no room for ambiguity that company’s seem to almost foster in their strategic design (due in part because the people whom comprise the company are not always able to change their habits and if technology does anything, it forces people to change how they do and see things). In order for these changes to take place, however, the leader must set goals, otherwise, with no plan of action, there can be no advancement.

A leader will set in a plan of action by using not technology first, but thinking of a goal: whether it be the company’s goal, or if the company has left it up to the innovation of the leader and their team, then to the former. This level of organization is needed for each leader. Another similar feature for each leader is that they rely on the team’s competency. The team has to be technologically savvy in order to bring new ideas to the table, or to present ways in which the company can utilize technology to their benefit. This paper gave examples both in the form of LinkedIn and in Facebook but there are a myriad of platforms of social media that a company can include in their action plan of making a more tech savvy company. For instance, the leader may bring to the table the fact that they need to use a Twitter account to reach more users. Or a leader may try and set up a YouTube account to more effectively manage PR on a promotional product. Each of these ideas have their own end result and it’s up to the leader with the help of their team to effectively set this up and work toward and end goal together (although, an emergent leader would best handle this situation, all of the leaders should have the necessary skill set to ensure that this happens).

Another recognized trait in technology and communication through leadership skills is that leaders will know what is working and what it not working in terms of technology. If technology use in the office is only hampering employee workload, then that platform would be ill advised to be used. A successful leader knows when technology must be implemented and when to steer clear of it.

This paper has shown that a leader needs to be an expert in their field and to knowingly advise a team as to what technology to use through proper communication, in order to fulfill a company’s goal. In order to do this, a leader must effectively give team members feedback as to what is working, what’s not working and why either is the case (this is especially true for the situational leader under the guise of support). A leader must not be behind the scenes, otherwise their communication becomes stale and ineffectual. In order to showcase how well a team member is doing a leader must motivate them and communicate to them when they’re doing a good job, or when they need to take some advice. A leader must pool the resources of the team in order to do this effectively. In order to do this effectively, a leader (and this stands for all three types of leaders) must effectively manage time. This is needed in order to stay on task as well as to keep up with the technology that makes user comments immediate and pervasive. If there’s a delay in a response or action then the user will get either bored or forget about their comment/complaint. Therefore, time management is key to leadership skills in communication. Ultimately, what a leader really works toward is integration. Integration of technology in the company is important as well as integration of technology in the workers themselves. This was highlighted with the HR example early in the paper. In conclusion, it may take many different types of leaders to lead many different types of goals or task forces, but ultimately what is needed first from each type of leader is good communication. Good communication is the solution to many forthcoming potential problems in a company and with good communication, time can be saved because time isn’t being wasted on unnecessary tasks.

References

Blanchard, K., & Hersey, P. (1996). The situational leadership model. Retrieved from http://greeks.cofc.edu/documents/The%20Situational%20Leadership%20Model.pdf

George, W. (2007). True north: discover your authentic leadership. Raytheon Lectureship In business ethics. 1-24.

McFarland, M. (2014). Emergent leadership: the trait that smart, innovative companies seek out in employees. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/02/24/emergent-leadership-the-trait-that-smart-innovative-companies-seek-out-in-employees/

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice.  6th ed.   Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications.

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