Leadership = Communication? The relations of leaders' communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes

R.E. de Vries, A. Bakker-Pieper, W. Oostenveld

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    Abstract

    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relations between leaders' communication styles and charismatic leadership, human-oriented leadership (leader's consideration), task-oriented leadership (leader's initiating structure), and leadership outcomes. Methodology: A survey was conducted among 279 employees of a governmental organization. The following six main communication styles were operationalized: verbal aggressiveness, expressiveness, preciseness, assuredness, supportiveness, and argumentativeness. Regression analyses were employed to test three main hypotheses. Findings: In line with expectations, the study showed that charismatic and human-oriented leadership are mainly communicative, while task-oriented leadership is significantly less communicative. The communication styles were strongly and differentially related to knowledge sharing behaviors, perceived leader performance, satisfaction with the leader, and subordinate's team commitment. Multiple regression analyses showed that the leadership styles mediated the relations between the communication styles and leadership outcomes. However, leader's preciseness explained variance in perceived leader performance and satisfaction with the leader above and beyond the leadership style variables. Implications: This study offers potentially invaluable input for leadership training programs by showing the importance of leader's supportiveness, assuredness, and preciseness when communicating with subordinates. Originality/value: Although one of the core elements of leadership is interpersonal communication, this study is one of the first to use a comprehensive communication styles instrument in the study of leadership. © 2009 The Author(s).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)367-380
    JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
    Volume25
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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