Aspire To Effectively Lead A Performing Team? , Communicate Meaningfully

The article discusses a prescriptive framework based on the review of the Vidhura Niti (The Mahabharata)

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Impactful communication runs in the body of every thriving organization as blood. It affects people, things and work done in organizations. One word spoken at the wrong time, one word spoken in the wrong tone, one word spoken in reaction can cause life-time harm to the very existence of an organization. Human beings are born communicators. On birth, the baby cries and communicates its entry into the world. When a person dies, there is silence, and that silence communicates the exit from the world. Having identified this, what one does during the time spent on this planet is to polish the existing communication skills and making oneself more impactful while communicating with different stakeholders of life. Organizational communication is all the more challenging since it is beyond one’s comfort zone. A leader’s communication holds much significance due to the pivotal role the title carries. The seven Cs of communication: Completeness, Correctness, Conciseness, Concreteness, Clarity, Courtesy, and Consideration emphasised by researchers and scholars time and again facilitate the leader to augment the required interpersonal skills. 

This article discusses a prescriptive framework based on the review of the Vidhura Niti (The Mahabharata). This can significantly add to the inventory on how to communicate – especially at strategic positions – and lead by example. 

Leadership Traits

Denison & Neale  (1996) identified four broad leadership traits:

Involvement - Building human capability, ownership and responsibility. 

Consistency - Defining the values and systems that are the basis of strong leadership. 

Adaptability - Translating the demands of the organizational environment into action.

Mission - Defining a meaningful long-term direction for the organization. 

Lack of Consideration on the part of a leader while communicating has a direct impact of involvement and adaptability. On the other hand, in the absence of clarity and courtesy in communication, leaders ought to fail miserably in developing consistency. Further, if correctness, completeness, conciseness and concreteness are missing from a leader’s communication, it affects adversely the fourth leadership trait – Mission.

Is it possible for a leader to have empathy with the colleagues working in the organization, if one is I-centred and focussed only on what to communicate and cares less about how to do so? Could it be expected of such a leader to provide meaningful insights to the team and in turn, to the organization? Could such a leader be instrumental in aligning the individual goals of team members with the organizational goals? Could such a leader do away with aggressiveness and arrogance while communicating for negotiation and persuasion or while resolving conflicts?

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership theory stresses on the bonds between leaders and team mates. It emphasizes team mates and their sense of self-concept, motivating followers to develop self-concept based on the leader’s mission and vision, by encouraging followers to perform their best and aspire to meet their leader’s expectations. Burns (2007) confirmed that Self-esteem, involvement and satisfaction are the outcomes of this process. Transformational leaders develop a sense of ownership in the team mates. Transformational leaders are effective leaders. Their teams are empowered to accomplish job satisfaction. Effective leaders have exceptional communication skills, effective listening skills, vision, creativity, trust, and integrity. Communication is the key to success for effective leaders and therefore clarity in communication is imperative for transformational leaders.

Vidhura Niti (The Mahabharata)

Vidura Niti, part of The Mahabharata is taken in isolation, studied and reported in keeping with its instructive significance. Vidura, the wise and erudite, is the younger brother of Dhritarashtra. Vidure Niti is the advice he offered to his elder brother. It explicitly demands the role of ethics in maintaining one’s reign on a nation. The following ten are the leadership qualities prompted by head and heart: wisdom, intelligence, judgement, patience, self-control, humility, equanimity, righteousness, endurance and tolerance. These can be gained through wisdom and understanding and application of the following quotes:

He that understands quickly, listens patiently, pursues his object with judgement, and not from desire, and spends not his breath on the affairs of others without being asked, is said to possess the foremost mark of wisdom.

He who speaks boldly, can converse on various subjects, knows the science of argumentation, possesses genius, and can interpret the meaning of what is writ in books, is reckoned as wise.

That man who never assumes a haughty mien who never censures others, praising himself the while, and never addressees harsh words to others for getting himself is ever loved by all.

Intelligence, tranquillity of mind, self-control, purity, absence of harsh speech, and unwillingness to do anything disagreeable to friends, these seven are regarded as fuel of prosperity's flame.

Gaining from and following the propositions made in Vidhura Niti in the Mahabharata enables a transformational leader to derive expertise in the following skills which lead to easy use of the seven Cs of communication:

Listening Ability – The ability to listen with patience leads to comprehension. The said leader then is termed transformational since she/he is considered empathetic by the team mates.

Expression – The ability to express with confidence leads to assertiveness. Assertiveness leads the leader to succeed in communicating thoughts, plans and actions in clear, crisp, correct, and concise manner.

Humility – Humility results in the absence of haughtiness, which in turn, drives one to develop you-attitude, which is a vital element with regards to consideration while communicating. The team mates of a transformational leader who is also considerate are often well motivated in their work.

Peaceful Mind – Intelligence and self-control are the outcomes of a pure mind. These attributes combine to make a transformational leader courteous in communicating with every stakeholder of the organization, especially the team mates.

So, if you aspire to effectively lead a performing team, communicate meaningfully !

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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