Effective Communication

Effective Communication

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Overview of Section

In Long’s chapter “Communication” in Leadership Tripod: A New Model for Effective Leadership (2004), Long defines communication as “the passing of information between at least two parties” (p. 89). He shares general communication principles, ways to improve communication, and evaluate it. His premise is: “Unless those placing leaders, the leaders themselves, and those under leadership can communicate effectively, leadership will not be as strong as it should be in order for the organization to achieve at its highest level” (p. 87). All involved in communication from the top down need to understand and implement effective communication despite misconceptions.
• In the process of encoding and decoding (communicating), “noise” occurs. “For true communication to take place, the receiver has to be able to decode the message the way the encoder wants to be understood” (p. 90). Both, encoder and the decoder, need to take the time to ensure a message has been correctly decoded.
• It is important to understand methods of communication and inhibitors to decoding.
o Vernacular use and inflection are two common hindrances to verbal communication.
o The telephone can create communication problems. Voice mail can be impersonal and unprofessional; therefore, these communications need to be clear and thorough.
o Handwritten communications include the note, letter, and electronic mail. While the note can be used to encourage and affirm, it takes time and must be distributed fairly and equally. Letters should be personalized, even if database generated. E-mail seems to be immediate, efficient, and quick; however, it can be impersonal and allow the encoder to not be responsible for ensuring communication has occurred and been correctly decoded.
o Nonverbal communication includes behavior, gestures, facial expressions, body language, and personal space. Many do not realize the nonverbal messages they send; therefore, leaders need to understand and be able to truly interpret them.
Implications for Teacher
• Teachers are leaders in the classroom, thereby, responsible to effectively communicate with students, parents, the community, colleagues, and administration.
• Teachers need to take the time to ensure communication has been successful—encoding and decoding.
• Teachers utilize verbal, telephone, written, and nonverbal communication.

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• “Unless [teachers] communicate effectively, leadership will not be as strong as it should be in order for the organization to achieve at its highest level” (p. 87).
Questions
• Long mentions “few do anything but complain” concerning “communication in general or the lack of effective communication” (p. 87). Do you agree or disagree. Why?
• How can you make improvements as an encoder?
• How can you make improvements as a decoder?






Reference
Long, A. (2004). Leadership tripod: A new model for effective leadership. Camby, IN: Power Publishing.
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