For my doctoral studies I was asked to review a research study on communication and leadership. This 2015 study from scholars from University of Westminister really breaks down what makes effective communication for an organization and assists in cultivating trust. This report helps defines a framework for cultivation of communication and trust of an organization. This study was extensive and gave a great insight into better create better problem solving, employee engagement, and job satisfaction.
Communication is key!
Recent research has highlighted 7 leadership behaviors for building trust:
• Behavioral consistency increases predictability
• Behavioral integrity underlines the coherence between words and actions
• Sharing and delegating increases engagement through participatory decision making
• Open, honest communication provides information about motivations and decisions • Demonstrating concern and taking others’ interest into account
• Communicating a shared vision increases cohesiveness
• Explaining shared values provides moral leadership and provides guidelines for action
If effective leadership is a matter of effective communication and leaders wish to create trusting organizations, then effective listening is the first step. Effective listening shows that the leader is benevolent and has their employees’ interests at heart. People generally consider face to face communication to be more reliable than written communication because it is ‘information rich’, i.e. we pick up clues as to honesty and openness more easily. Honesty and openness are two key drivers of trust. We cannot therefore underestimate the importance of ‘management by walking around’ because trust is best built up by frequent face to face interactions. Employees are less interested in formal ‘stuffy’ e-mails and memorandums than the opportunity to create relationships with their leaders.