What is Communication to a Leader?


I may be bias in the sense that I am a Communication major with a minor in Leadership and (recently added) psychology.

Our words and our actions communicate to others whether we intend it or not. Leaders have to do what is right, do it the right way, and explain it the right way. There are wrong ways to talk about things but there are an infinite number of other ways to go about something with each way giving a different impression. Every single word used, the way you say the words, and how you look and move when you say them all contribute to the messages you send to other people. As leaders, people will be exceptionally critical of our communication skills–and rightfully so.

A leader is someone who has some extent of power or more influence than those around them. Our words and actions directly affect those around us as it is. When you are leading, however, those stakes increase and we now have more of an effect on how people around us feel and behave. It all starts with what we communicate.

I firmly believe that we wouldn’t be able to study leadership if we couldn’t understand effective communication. Communication can exist without leadership but leadership cannot exist without communication. Once that is established you’ll see that effective communication doesn’t exist without leadership qualities. They are very interdependent. The Communication in Leadership (COM461) class is so important for these reasons. For those of us going into STEM based careers, there is still no way to avoid communication and if we want to be effective leaders, we must be effective communicators. I see the study of communication as something that can never stop. Words and behaviors are always evolving and are endlessly malleable. What is vernacular will always be relative to what else is going on.

Before our exams in COM461 we would play a competitive review game that my team happen to win for our final exam review.

Professor Carlson is truly amazing. Although her teaching style isn’t always the best for everyone, I hang on her every word during lecture. From the way she speaks to us, it is clear that she still finds the study of communication extremely interesting. She strives to ignite any interest we may have by asking many thought provoking questions every time our class meets. She incorporates different mediums of study tools to keep things interesting. She ties in important real world experiences to ensure that we aren’t just memorizing terms and studies but that we are visualizing and applying them on our own.

This class will certainly stick with me as I continue further down the rabbit hole of the societal-questioning, experimental, ever-changing studies that include communication in leadership.


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