SPCOM227 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Impression Management, Laissez-Faire, Machiavellianism

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Chapter 1: leadership and communication
Leadership: at the core of human experience
Followers prosper under effective leaders and suffer under effective leaders
Leadership is best understood from a communication standpoint
Leaders use language as most tangible tool for achieving desired outcomes
Defining leadership
Leadership is fundamental element of human condition
The nature of human communication
Frank Dance defines symbols as abstract, arbitrary representations of reality
agreed upon by human users
Meaning of symbol does not come from intrinsic properties of idea, concept
or object being represented
oValue is bestowed upon it by those who use it
We attach arbitrary meanings to many nonverbal behaviours as well
Communication is based on transfer of symbols, which allows individuals to
create meaning
Goal of communication is to create shared reality between messages sources
and receivers
Pygmalion effect: human ability to manipulate symbols allows for creation of
reality
oLabelling someone motivated or lazy can lead to changes in behaviour
We use symbolic communication to pursue things or to achieve goals
Communication patterns of animals are predetermined
oWolves normally travel in packs and dominance in pack is
predetermined based on size, physical strength
oHumans leadership varies from situation to situation and from
individual to individual
Leadership shades all features of human communication just described
oLeaders use symbol to create reality
oLeaders communicate about past, present and future
oLeaders make conscious use of symbols to reach their goals
The human communication process
Five principles that reflect basic components of human communication
1. Communication is not a thing, it is a process
Is it not constant, it is dynamic and ever changing
Communication scholars focus on a continuous, ongoing process without a
clearly defined beginning or end
2. Communication is not linear, it is circular
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Action model was incomplete because response from the receiver back to the
source was ignored
Barnlund’s development assumes that messages are sent and received
simultaneously by source and receivers
3. Communication is complex
Involves more than just one person sending message
Process involves negotiation of shared interpretations and understanding
When you have a conversation with another person, there are 6 people
involved
oWho you think you are
oWho you think the other person is
oWho you think the other person thinks you are
oWho the other person thinks he/she is
oWho the other person thinks you are
oWho the other person thinks you think he/she is
4. Communication is irreversible
Cannot take back what we say
5. Communication involves the total personality
Communication cannot be viewed separately from the person
More than a set of behaviours, is it primary defining characteristic of a
human being
Leadership: a special form of human communication
Four primary definitional themes emerge for leadership
1. Leadership is about who you are
Focuses on leader traits and attributes
2. Leadership is about how you act
Exercise of influence or power
When others actually change, then leadership is successful
3. Leadership is about what you do
Importance of followers
Leaders channel their influence and encourage change in order to meet the
needs or to reach the goals of a group
Placing leadership in context of group achievement helps clarify difference
between leadership and persuasion
Persuasion involves changing attitudes and behaviour through rational and
emotional arguments (not always leadership activity, only a tool for leaders)
4. Leadership is about how you work with others
Emphasizes collaboration
Success is product of leaders’ and followers’ joint efforts
Leadership is human (symbolic) communication that modifies the attitudes
and behaviours of others in order to meet shared group goals and needs
Leaders: turbulence, conflict, innovation and change
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