Skills

Topics: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Leadership, Charisma Pages: 7 (1508 words) Published: April 7, 2014

The best political and social leaders’ thought-out our history have also been the best communicators. Antonakis et al (2012) argue that it is their ability to communicate persuasively and charismatically with a clear, concise, visionary and inspirational message that captivates and motivates an audience. However, the best communicators are not only restricted to the political and social spheres, but can also be seen in the business world. A the study conducted by Conger (1998) observing 23 flourishing business leaders showed that a large contributing factor to their success was in their ability to use language to adapt to challenging business environments by motivating their employees, articulating a vision and strategy, and thus mobilizing their organizations.

Carlopio and Andrewartha (2012) introduce ten main key skill areas for managers, namely managing stress, self-awareness, effective communication, problem solving, power & influence, conflict and negotiation, motivation, empowering and delegation, effective change management and building teams. Out of these, the purpose of this paper is to address the importance of effective communication as a management skill. It will incorporate the concepts provided by Antonakis et al (2012) and Conger (1998) around charismatic and persuasive leaders. The paper will also identify key shortcomings in my communication style and develop an action plan to address these shortcomings.

The decision to choose communication as an area for my own improvement was largely influenced by my role at SSI (see appendix 1 and 2 for a detailed explanation of SSI and my division). In my role I am very much exposed to the top leaders in Australia – from both a client and candidate (the executive being assessed) perspective. From the client side, whilst effective communication has always been highly regarded by companies, in the more recent years – particularly following the Global Financial Crisis, I have observed an enormous growth in companies that now regard this competency as a “non-negotiable” clause in their specifications. This is especially in the case in Board and Chief Executive (CEO) Succession assignments, where effective communication is now regarded as the deciding factor between a “good” and “great” leader (Menkes, 2006). In cases where we are candidate by clients as a part of performance evaluation process, we find that about 62 percent of deficiencies that are identified by the EAS are also related to effective communication (Menkes, 2006) and consequently, a lot of our suggestions for leadership development are related around the concepts of active listening, persuasive communication and charismatic leadership.

My observations and practical experiences are validated by academic literature. According to Antonakis et al (2012), after executives were trained to become charismatic leaders, the leadership ratings observers gave them rose by circa 60 percent. By definition, a charismatic leader would be able to influence values and feelings – namely Aristotle’s “logos”, “ethos” and “pathos” (Antonakis et al, 2012). Interestingly enough, “charismatic” leader is also a “persuasive” communicator (Antonakis et al, 2012; Conger, 1998). Conger (1998) summarizes four essential steps for effective persuasion. This involves establishing credibility, framing for common ground, providing evidence and connecting emotionally.

In applying these four steps to my communication style, my weaknesses, or key areas for improvement become obvious. Upon reflection of the last year, I have found it very challenging to establish credibility. I work in an industry where I am well below the average age of both, fellow organizational psychologists and researchers, and also clients and cnadidates. I deal on a day to day basis with people that have at least 25-30 years of experience, where I barely have five. This is further exacerbated by the fact that in a majority of cases, I am advising...

References: Conger, J. (1998) “The Necessary Art of Persuasion”, Harvard Business Review, May-June, pp. 84-95
Menkes, J
Morgan, N., (2008) “Managing Yourself: How to Become an Authentic Speaker”, Harvard Business Review, November, pp. 115-119
Myers, Isabel Briggs (2010) “The Myers & Briuggs Foundation
Source: Carlopio, J., Andrewartha, G. (2012) ‘Developing Management Skills: A Comprehensive Guide For Leaders’, 5th edition, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, p43
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