Leader Communication Strategies Critical Paths to Improving Employee Commitment

Mayfield, Jacqueline; Mayfield, Milton
June 2002
American Business Review;Jun2002, Vol. 20 Issue 2, p89
Academic Journal
This article addresses how key leader communication strategies can increase worker loyalty. Leader communication has long been shown to be a critical factor in superior worker motivation and performance (Levering, 1988; Robbins, 2001), and has great potential to aid organizations in their quest for committed employees. Organizations' need for committed employees is now acute due to such recent shifts in the business environment as the current economic slowdown (which places a premium on increasing worker productivity), skilled worker shortages, increasing ethnic and cultural diversity, rapid technological innovations, and growing organizational reliance on "knowledge workers" to achieve competitive advantage. Research clearly shows that leader communication practices play an integral role in developing and sustaining the employee commitment demanded by the preceding scenarios (Goleman, 1998; Goleman, 2000; Reina & Reina, 1999). However, leaders are often faced with a plethora of options and communication techniques that are not directly linked with strategic goals. To make sense of these various communication tactics, leaders need a systemic method which links practice to results. This article presents such a model, which can also be used to diagnostically assess training needs. In essence, the model is a set of strategy-based "best practices" that guide leaders to more effectively transmit and foster organizational trust; which, in turn, will significantly enhance worker loyalty and organizational outcomes. To best explain this model and its relevance, this study first examines the link between leader communication and worker loyalty. Next, selected, well-documented leader communication skills and practices are discussed, followed by a section that presents the Motivating Language Model and a resultant "best practices" checklist for managers. Finally, our study concludes with suggested future directions for both the research and applications of leader...


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