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Leadership Communication

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A leader should be capable of conversing efficiently and effectively. When asked what major skills a company’s senior executive is required to have, chief executives invariably cited good communication abilities. Senior executives spend the majority of their time on communication; in fact, previous research demonstrates that top managers spend 70-90 percent of their time on a range of activities related exclusively to communication (Mintzberg, 1973; Eccles & Nohria, 1991). If a precise study were to be conducted in today’s digital world by using cell phones, e-mail, and text messaging, even higher rates would be yielded. The fact that senior executives spend the major part of their time on communication underscores the significance of strong communication abilities for managers seeking to excel in leadership positions. Leadership communication was chosen because the key to success of every business, whether small or big, lies in effective leadership. The present paper will, therefore, deal with the participative team style, which is one of the most effective leadership styles.

A leader is often referred to as a person who is capable of guiding, motivating and directing other people. Leaders have the ability to exercise influence over others within a community or organization. By attracting attention of other people, leaders persuade them to follow them. Through controlling the work within groups of people, leaders are capable of improving overall performance of the organization.

With the help of effective communication strategies, leaders are able to manage the organization more effectively. Therefore, good communication skills help them establish mutual understanding and trust, which is essential for motivating other people to follow a leader. Therefore, lack of good communication skills would bring less vital results of the organization’s performance. Hence, an effective leader is the one who possesses skills necessary for effective communication.

Leadership communication is often defined as a purposeful and controlled transfer of information, whereby leaders can influence a group or a single person, as well as an organization’s employees or a community at large. Effective leadership communication employs a full range of communication resources and skills in order to overcome barriers, as well as formulate and deliver different messages that would direct, guide, inspire and motivate other people. Communication skills necessary for effective leadership communication include layered and expanding skills for the development of core strategies, as well as effective speaking and writing in order to implement those skills in more complicated organizational situations. Apart from the expansion of the manager’s control and perspectives, leaders usually focus on the improvement of essential communication skills in order to become effective in more complicated and broader organizational situations. Leadership communication includes three primary elements, such as core communication, managerial communication, and corporate communication. Therefore, along with the development of a leader’s career within a company and his promotion, communication demands are becoming more complex (Barrett, 2006).

The foremost success factor for each and every organization, whether big, middle-sized, or large, lies in executive management based upon a participative team style. Within this form of leadership style, each and every group member is involved in recognizing fundamental objectives and building up practices and tactics that ensure attainment of all predetermined goals.

The underlying idea behind the participative team style is that all the team members are involved in the process of identifying fundamental goals and strategic planning and development in order to reach previously identified goals. Often, participative team leadership is considered as a style that largely depends on the functioning of the leader who plays a role of a facilitator (unlike the dictatorship style where leader normally plays the role of a dictator who is only issuing orders). In the setting of the participative leadership style, potential skills and talents of team members can be effectively used in the common decision making process. Even though the final decision is always taken by a leader, in the participative leadership style setting, every team member usually provides valuable inputs to help a leader make a right decision.

The present study will focus on Procter & Gamble (P&G), which is a multinational company headquartered in Cincinnati, USA. The company produces a wide range of consumer merchandises, and is deemed as the world’s most successful company in terms of the field it operates in. P&G exploits the participative team style across its global network. P&G underscores the importance of good leadership and constantly strives to use this notion to achieve its long-term goals (Patricia, 2010).

A lot of consumer brands widely recognized all over the world are originally produced by Procter & Gamble. Operating in 80 countries, the company employs more than 135,000 employees to deal with approximately 4 billion consumers on a daily basis. To achieve success P&G needs to develop effective communication strategies, personal connections and effective leadership communication as quickly as possible. In order to improve the existing employee connections and communication, as well as leadership communication strategies, Procter & Gamble has identified the sphere of communication as being vital for business development. As a result, the company has implemented a strategy that was supported by a a high-end communication system. As a first step, Procter & Gamble has analyzed the real-time connections beyond the online space, in order to drive sustainable collaboration and leverage technology (Cisco, 2010).

Procter & Gamble’s management is effectively implementing a participatory team style of the leadership communication. The latter has been considerably improved through investing in research and development of new technologies, as well as fostering and simplifying leadership communication of a large international company. Historically, video collaboration experience had been mixed. Connectivity and image quality were rife with problems, which resulted in low adoption rate. However, recent developments in this sphere changed the situation considerably, and Procter & Gamble took advantage of that.

Procter & Gamble’s employees remain constantly connected with one another in order to ensure effective team communication. They wok from home or use mobile phones when being away. In order to stay connected, employees of Procter & Gamble need to communicate effectively to facilitate the company’s innovation and market success. Therefore, in order to keep people connected with each other, Procter & Gamble has overcome distance barriers for communication with the introduction of modern communication technologies (Cisco, 2010).

Until 2006, collaboration and leadership communication were primarily achieved through e-mail, telephone, and through physical meetings with people. As a result, the company’s managers and executives were forced to travel extensively. Even though external and internal teams of Procter & Gamble had access to around 300 videoconferencing systems, in the majority of cases, the technology was unreliable, outdated, and difficult to use. Poor audio quality was often accompanied with low video resolution, which resulted in relatively low adoption and utilization of the existing videoconferencing rooms (Cisco, 2010).

Introduction of modern communication technologies have made a considerable contribution to the collaboration strategy of Procter & Gamble. However, implementing the video collaboration system within a short period of time across the global network of Procter & Gamble was not possible due to several obstacles. Among the major barriers were complexity of the new technologies introduction and non-readiness of networks to implement and use the technologies. In addition to the complexity and readiness of the networks barriers, introduction of video collaboration studios in the company’s offices across the world required multiple facilities, vendors, financing, oversight and qualified installation teams. At the same time, Procter & Gamble’s network also required extensive preparation to ensure that low latency and optimum connectivity was attained in all locations.

As a result, Procter & Gamble jointly with Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group developed an innovative strategy aimed at improving the company’s collaboration, facilitating decision-making process, and increasing flexibility. In less than eight months, 43 new video conferencing studios were created at the premises of the Procter & Gamble all over the world. With the help of new video conferencing communication equipment, Procter & Gamble has considerably improved leadership communication among its offices worldwide, as well as communication with channel partners on a global scale. At the same time, new communication technologies have substantially improved operational processes (Cisco, 2010).

Introduction of new video collaboration studios at Procter & Gamble has transformed its business performance in multiple spheres. Improvements took place at all levels of communication, starting from collaboration and communication for general purposes to complete business reinvention. After utilization of modern communication technologies, communication within the company takes place faster and  in a more rapid succession, including people from all over the world. What is more interesting is that using video collaboration studios is also included in the organization’s plan to increase productivity and decrease costs.

With the help of video collaboration studios Procter & Gamble teams can communicate face-to-face with their members from different offices and countries and maintain consistent relationships without incurring travel expenses (Cisco, 2010).

Another benefit of improved leadership communication is that employees, suppliers and partners of the company are able to spend more time with their families. In addition to cost reduction, Procter & Gamble has also been able to considerably reduce the amount of time wasted on numerous flights. Moreover, decision making time has been also considerably cut from days to minutes, or even hours, after the company’s leaders received an opportunity to communicate via high-quality video conferencing.

As time went by, employees became more comfortable using new communication devices. Survey results indicate that the level of their utilization in some locations has reached eighty percent, with users being highly satisfied with the quality and possibilities of the new technologies. Successful implementation of pilot video communication studios has resulted in establishment of more than seventy video collaboration studios at Procter & Gamble branches around the world.

In addition to overcoming global communication barriers, introduction of new video communication technologies has also created new possibilities. Being a global company, Procter & Gamble has a need to be close to its customers in every possible location. With the help of the networks and effective communication technologies, as well as through its online portal for innovative ideas, Procter & Gamble is successfully achieving this target (Cisco, 2010).

It should be noted that effective communication is one of the key elements needed to become a successful leader. Company leaders largely attribute their organization’s success to their communication skills. The majority of senior executives spend most of their time on having different meetings with customers, team members, and partners.

Good communication skills of a leader combined with effective leadership style will determine success of a company in the market. Participative team leadership is one the most effective leadership styles that is extensively used by highly successful companies worldwide. The style requires all the team members to participate in the process of identifying major strategies of a company and developing plans on how to implement outlined strategies. In the setting of the participatory team leadership style, a leader fulfils the role of facilitator of communication, even though he/she is the one who is responsible for making a final decision. However, with participatory team leadership, every team member receives an opportunity to reveal his talents and potential and make a contribution to a company’s strategic development.

However, considering the cases of large multinational corporations, effective leadership communication along with participatory team leadership style sometimes encounter various barriers due to large distances that bring along substantial time and resource cost.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, USA, Procter & Gamble is a large multinational company that produces a wide range of consumer merchandises. Procter & Gamble is one of the world’s most successful companies, which owes its success to leadership communication and participative team leadership style. The two have helped the company establish unique corporate ethics that has proved to be highly effective over the years.

To ensure effective leadership communication, Procter & Gamble relies on cooperation between managers and executives from different countries, as well as cooperation with customers and partners from the USA and abroad. Apart from using the latest technological advances, Procter & Gamble has introduced a new approach in order to improve leadership communication. In 2007, the company established a number of video conferencing studios,  which enabled its management to conduct meetings with people around the world at minimum costs.

The innovative approach in leadership communication has also substantially improved participative team leadership in terms of face-to-face communication and collaboration of people from different countries. In addition to reducing travel costs, the company was also able to reduce time spent on travelling. Not only did it enable workers to spend more time at home, but also cut the time needed to make a decision.

It is interesting how introduction of modern communication technologies improves the communication process and cooperation among team members, as well as produces a number of additional advantages. To further improve leadership communication at Procter & Gamble, video collaboration studios and equipment may be introduced for the lower levels of management in order to increase their collaboration. At the same time, it would be advisable to introduce pilot versions of virtual employment for some departments of the company that would reduce costs and improve productivity.

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