Jacqueline M. Shannon
Leadership and Communication
Introduction to Leadership and Communication
“Of all leadership behaviors, the ability to communicate may be the most important.
Communications lays the foundation for leading others” (Baldoni, 2003, What is Leadership
Communications, p. 5).
In other words, strong communication skills and effective leadership go
hand in hand.
One can be a great communicator, but fail miserably as a leader.
cannot be a great leader without being an effective communicator.
Effective communication can take many forms.
These can be written, spoken, and
Although it is not necessary to be strong in each of these areas, it is imperative to
have a good grasp on each of them.
It is the leader who is able to adapt their message according
to their current surroundings (i.e. stakeholders, climate, etc.) that will be the most successful.
It is also critical that today’s leaders, in both formal and informal roles, ask the questions
of “Who, What, When, Why, and How” as it applies to communicating to others.
“Who is this message directed to?”
“What message needs to be conveyed to achieve the intended goal(s)?”
“When is the appropriate time to convey the stated message?”
“Why is it important this message be conveyed?”
“How will the stated message be received?”
Lastly, it is imperative that today’s leader not only strive for effectiveness in her/his
communications, but more importantly, authenticity.
“Authentic leaders are transparent, honest,
and sincere” (Wagner, 2009, p. 34).
As an example, political leaders know exactly what
message needs to be conveyed and to whom it is intended.
It is remarkably effective.
Unfortunately, in many cases, it is not authentic.
In the end, those leaders will most likely be