“Leadership is action, not position” ~Donald McGannon
The opening quote in Hackman and Johnson’s book titled, “Leadership: A Communication Perspective,” speaks volumes to how we should view leadership and communication. The fundamental premise of effective leadership begins with the ability to properly communicate with your followers. As a global leader in the 21st century, it is evident that we must understand the essence of leadership and communication and how they impact followers independently and collectively.
My family and I watched a movie inspired by a true story about a Coach named Jim Ellis, which featured actor Terrance Howard as a charismatic schoolteacher who changed lives forever when he founded an African-American swim team in one of Philadelphia’s roughest neighborhoods. What was inspiring about this movie was Ellis’s ability to lead a team of students who lived in a community where drug dealers, teen pregnancy and single-parent homes were their reality. He instilled and translated his message with three words Pride, Determination and Resiliency. Those words gave his team hope which changed those kids’ life forever and leads them to win a National Championship. Leadership and communication are unilateral in all cultures from Japanese, Chinese, and German, but they have one thing in common, change.
Communication is important for all leaders from a college professor, gas station clerk, and as mentioned an ordinary coach, like Jim Ellis. Like many leaders, Ellis exampled the true essence of a transformational leader by articulating his message through action. Transformational leadership entails engendering enthusiasm for a cause that will not only change the leader but the followers.
As you strive to change the lives of those you lead, remember that effective leaders make a difference. You have the ability to lead a lost person in the right direction through your words and action. Joseph Rost states it plain, “Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and their followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes.” Ask yourself daily, am I leading to change or am I changing to lead?
Denning, Stephen. (2007). The Secret Language of Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hackman, M. Z. (2009). Leadership: A Communication Perspective. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.