Why Communication? Why Leadership?

Posted by on Sep 15, 2010 in ComLead

Communication scholars and professionals have had to defend their field of study or job at some point. Why study communication? What is it? With this, I always answer with one of the basic axioms from Paul Watzlawick: One Cannot Not Communicate.

Every behavior and action- spoken and unspoken- communicates. We communicate interpersonally and intrapersonally. Simultaneously. Communication is complex and constant. This makes it difficult to describe and daunting to understand. With understanding, comes the ability to foster growth and development on both micro and macro scales. We learn this skill, without knowing it, from the day that we are born. By the time we reach college, the application of communication seems obvious- but the strategic use of it is far from conspicuous.

The strategic use of communication is one of the greatest assets that a leader can have. Can you think of one iconic leader that did not have strong communication skills? How were they perceived? In 1974, TIME wrote an article: Who were History’s Great Leader’s?

36 Years later, if we set about making another list like this one, I would guess many of those names would reappear. People such as Jesus, Gandhi and George Washington, would undoubtedly resurface. Although communication and leadership skills were not taught to them in the pedagogical sense, can we say they were not factors in their successes?

This is just the beginning of the discussion of communication and leadership. As with the Master’s Program at Canisius College, the topics will be diverse, but pertinent as we continue to explore the innumerous facets of this field.

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