Importance of Nonverbal Communication in Leadership
The statement “Communication is a key” is applied daily by people referring to each and every topic that cuts across relationships, through to business. Communication comes in many forms, which vary from the spoken and written words to the nonverbal cues. Every person communicates in a different manner. Leaders, however, must be the masters in communication. First of all, this is because the leader’s success is dependent on his communication ability (Tonya, 2008). The main objective of this essay is to elucidate on the main impacts of nonverbal communication on the leader’s success.
As it was mentioned before, this work will majorly deal with nonverbal communication. The work is mainly composed of current sources, namely on the different communication theories (Tonya, 2008). First of all, it is important to consider the importance of both types of communication. In order to gain a success in a leadership, one’s verbal and nonverbal communication should go hand in hand.
In order to understand the effects of nonverbal communication, one should first understand its meaning. In the process of communicating, every individual uses the nonverbal cues in one or another way. There exist a logical and an inherent section of communication tendencies. Nonverbal signals encompass body language, tonal variations, facial expressions, posture, closing and spatial relationship among others.
It is extremely beneficial to take into consideration the fact that cultural differences can be also included in the nonverbal communication. The two basic cultural communication components are a touch and an eye contact. Various cultures relate the eye contact with respect. For example, in the United States, the eye contact is considered respectful, whereas in Japan, it is a sign of disrespect. Some cultures consider the touch as acceptable, while others view it as an intrusion of someone’s personal space. The given work analyzes the American type of nonverbal communication in order to narrow the research topic scope. It is necessary to understand how to pass a message across avoiding confusion within the business world (Steve, 2008).
Media technology has complicated the flow of the messages across the world. Currently the emails and instant messages are sent daily, which is considered quite dangerous, because they lack the crucial nuances of nonverbal communication such as clarity. Therefore, it can lead to miscommunication. The given paper is heavily focused on the American work place.
A paraphrased version of Collin’s definition of communication is a study of the manners, in which communication is passed among the human beings. These manners include gestures, telecommunication systems, speech, boarding media and publishing among others.
It is not surprising that the gestures as a part of nonverbal communication are mentioned in the given definition. It is a known fact that the gestures are purely nonverbal. However, they often work best when combined with an appropriate verbal communication. The leaders, who are able to use a means of nonverbal communication appropriately, have all chances to succeed in their work place. The recent studies have consistently suggested that information is not only processed through the body but also through the work of mouth. Verbal communication is considered as a contingent to nonverbal communication. People can use around 2000 words on a daily basis, 500 of which are common. These common words have about 14000 different dictionary definitions. Therefore, there appears much room for nonverbal communication to enhance understanding.
There are two basic levels of nonverbal communication: connotative and denotative (Steve, 2008). The denotative level is taken from the dictionary, whereas the connotative is taken from the emotions. Therefore, for a word to be understood, it has to be accompanied by an appropriate nonverbal message. According to the iceberg theory, only 30 percent of communication is based on the content, and 70 percent is based on the process feelings. The process feelings include nonverbal cues like distance, posture, tonal variation and gestures. It is extremely necessary to note that if a leader taps into the 70 percent ability to recognize nonverbal communication, it strengthens the content and makes it understandable.
Organizational behavior encompasses the study of human behavior within the organization setting. An organization consists of many people, and nonverbal communication impacts on their daily communication. Therefore, nonverbal communication has a great influence on the organization as a whole.
Through nonverbal communication, the leader can understand the team’s attitude towards each other and the organization. There are many types of communication flows. The first deals with the content, and it can be split into three groups. One of them is a task related communication, which deals with the daily organizational issues. The messages meant to create a flow of information usually keep the employees intact with the organizational goals. The content part can be connected with the next group called maintenance messages. These are messages sent in order to maintain the organization’s human image. This can be done either to the public (outwardly) or to the company members (inwardly). The last group deals with an innovative communication, which lays a foundation of an organization’s improvement. These concepts provide a fair ground for an organization to reach each individual within the company and effectively manage it.
Both verbal and nonverbal communication used together can either be negative or positive depending on its formation. It is also necessary to focus on the directional flow of the messages. A typical organization has a vertical flow of communication, which can be from a downward or an upward point of view. Messages sent from the managers to the employees symbolize a downward flow, whereas the messages sent from the employees to the manager symbolize an upward flow. A horizontal flow of communication takes place among the employees. Multi-lateral communication is experienced in a team based organizations. This is seen, when the messages are sent from each and every direction. Since nonverbal communication has a significant impact on how the written word is understood, it can make a message negative or positive in a downward communication pattern.
Nonverbal communication shapes an individual’s views and interprets the message as a whole. Therefore, the leaders should equip themselves with the skills of right nonverbal communication in order to pass across the right messages. This could successfully create and develop the desired business atmosphere. Face to face communication easily sends the nonverbal messages. Media messages such as the use of emails are known to have an impact on the organization which is different as compared to those of personal communication.
The concept of personal communication has a greater impact of the desired message unlike the media messages. Moreover, this allows for a more truthful and instant feedback. Indra Nooyi, who is one of the most influential lady leaders in the corporate world, believes that one cannot hide his own being. Nooyi wore a fifty dollars suite and orange snow boots for her first job interview, which she did not succeed (Gabriel, 2009). She, therefore, chose to follow an advice from her career counselor at Yale. She wore a sari for her next interview and got the job. Nooyi’s experience teaches to hold true to oneself and not try to change one’s own being.
Indra Nooyi is continuously applauded for her management style in the multi-billion dollar company. Thanks to her ability to face the challenges head on and adapt to the changes, Nooyi is often credited and respected for being one of the most successful women. Nooyi strongly believes that the most valuable part of management is taking care of the staff. The other notable aspect of nonverbal communication implemented by her is listening (Gabriel, 2009). Nooyi takes time to listen keenly to her employees and pays attention to each of them by the use of the eye contact. Listening helps her prevent miscommunication. An exemplary leader should not be rigid, he should always smile and present himself as an open minded person who is open for suggestions and is an excellent listener as well. A person speaks words, but the meaning of these words comes from the individual's body movement, clothing, touching and facial expression. A successful leader can reach his ultimate potential by the use of an appropriate nonverbal communication (Gabriel, 2009).
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that nonverbal communication finds its place in each of the following theories: business theory, leadership theory and communication theory. The fact that everyone views things differently in the process of communication should be put into consideration. Sometimes it may seem that one’s ability to speak, listen and be understood makes one a good communicator. It should be noted that there may be some difficulties in communication as each word has a different contextual meaning. The power behind the words lies in the nonverbal communication.
All in all, a successful organization is made by a successful leader, and his ability of communicating is the main important factor of this success. Nonverbal communication encompasses numerous theories, and the iceberg theory is among the best ones. It shows how about 70 percent of our nonverbal communication is overlooked. Thus, it becomes clear why some leaders are weaker than others. A successful leader uses nonverbal cues to enhance the messages sent to the audience. A skilled communicator is graded by his or her ability to communicate nonverbally. The leaders promote the success of their company on a daily basis. The leisure of an open arm posture, the power of a smile, and the drive behind the facial expressions among others enable an individual to take control and inspire his or her followers. If an individual lacks these skills, his or her chances to succeed are limited.