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Communication Styles for Leaders

Communication styles for leaders

Communication styles for leaders

There is a strong correlation between leadership and excellent communication skills, meaning; that almost all great leaders are also known for their ability to communicate effectively. Examples of this type are many: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, and Florence Nightingale. All these people were known for two things, their ability to act as leaders, as agents of change, and for their ability to communicate.

Florence Nightingale affected changes in the care and treatment of wounded soldiers during the Crimean war, and she did it as a woman, at a time that women's voices were not generally listened to, by the paternalistic bureaucracy. It is a testament to Florence Nightingale's tenacity and force of will, and her abilities as a master communicator; to communicate her message with the full force of her conviction, her logic, and the power of her statistical evidence; that she was able to change the minds of the men at the ministry of war. She was a great example of a woman in a leadership role.

This power of communication is a common theme for all great leaders.

So if you would be a great leader, you could start your quest by working to improve your communication skills.

Your communication skills are made up of three channels.

  1. Your words
  2. Your voice tone
  3. Your body language

But consider this; your words can be further subdivided into two major subsets;

  1. Your powers of logic and
  2. Your powers of rhetoric

Your powers of logic may be defined as your ability to persuade the minds of others, by making use of your available evidence, mathematical proof, and reasoned arguments.

Your powers of rhetoric may be defined as your ability to persuade the minds of others, by making use of things, other than the evidence, the proof and the reasoned arguments. These rhetorical devices include:

  1. Appeal to emotion: Example; An appeal to fear. (Do as I say or else!).
  2. Appeals to a moral ideal. (Do as I say, because it is the morally right thing to do).
  3. Appeals to the majority opinion. (Do as I say because I represent the Voice of the People).
  4. Appeals to authority. (Do as I say because it is also the will of God, or the King, or the will of the boss).

Great communicators combine logic, proof, evidence, reasoned argument, together with emotion, moral justification, and the will of the people, and the authority of kings or of God, to reinforce their message.

Then they add a powerful voice tone and they toss in some great body language, and; Hey Presto! You now have a master communicator.

Have a look at the following: It is from June 1940; it is an extract from Winston Churchill's famous speech: "We Shall Fight on the Beaches", This was the second of three major speeches given around the period of the Battle of France.

Your task is to try to figure out which elements of this speech are examples of logic and which elements are examples of rhetoric. (I think you will agree that it is a speech based mostly on rhetoric.)

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone................ Even though large tracts of Europe ..........may fall into the grip of the ......apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end.

We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, and we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

If you would be a master communicator then:

  • Study logic
  • Study rhetoric
  • Study voice tones, and
  • Study body language

Enjoy the discoveries you'll make.

IF you want to learn about logic and rhetorical speech, please attend our two day leadership course.

We look at logical speech on day one and we look at rhetorical speech in the afternoon of day 2.

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As the team leader or manager, you know that, on the technical level, you are very good. In your role as an effective and inspirational leader-manager, you recognise that there may be some gaps. Now you are searching for a method to help you to improve your skills as a team-leader and manager - click here to find out more!

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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