Great leaders are great communicators because communication is the basis for human interaction, a skill mastered by history’s greats. Communication has two basic types and always has two parties; these are non-verbal, verbal, sender and receiver, respectively. With better knowledge of these aspects of communication, leaders’ toolboxes will be better equipped to care for their people and accomplish their mission.
Communication must be sent between the sender and the receiver. As a structural leader, usually this means giving orders or advice as the sender, but also receiving feedback from subordinates and direction from superiors. As a functional leader, sending messages without authority (being a pier, at times) can be very difficult. A firm command presence is a non-verbal cue that one is knowledgeable and should be followed.
Non-verbal communication is a much larger group of messages that includes: gaze, volume, gestures, facial expressions, dress, posture, sentence structure, accent, etc. Having the appropriate volume, dress and appearance, and facial expressions are just a few instances that a leader must know the audience and tailor their messages to them. Non-verbal cues are just as important as the words actually being said or written.
Verbal communication is any kind of communication through the use of words. This type can be broken down farther into connotation and denotation. Denotation is the literal meaning of a word, while connotation is the meaning or feeling transferred (often unintentionally) to the receiver. A good example is the word fine (defined by Merriam –Webster as “free from impurities”). The phrase “fine workmanship,” has the connotation of perfection, though saying “I’m fine,” usually means simply mediocre. While the sender may have one meaning attached to their words, the receiver may have one that is entirely different. Word choice, context, and tone all help to ensure one gets the right message across.
Though the words...