The fact that leaders with good communication skills are very effective in driving the organization toward achievement of goals. However when it comes to leadership in a technical expertise, many stand in a dilemma about the effectiveness of good communication skill and its importance. Although the leadership qualities that a technical expertise should possess is not different in total from that of the traditional leaders yet there exists some dissimilarities and also the importance of the qualities are defined in a different chronology. It is a very argumentative point of discussion in this world of organizations which are primarily dominated by the technology. The probable questions that keep on arising in our minds are whether a technical leader has to have the best communication skills as a primary focus as a leader or the organizations who are greatly dependent upon technology should employ technical leaders or they will succeed if they have leaders who have knowledge about the technology or at least have a fair understanding of the same (Zenger, 2014). Howsoever the fact that technological organizations also demand and look forward for a good leader cannot be ignored as the growth and success of many organizations are a result of great leaders. Microsoft was led by Bill Gates since inception and during his leadership it reached new highs so much that no IT company could ever even think of coming near to this organization and had become a company which all employees looked forward to work with (Gerber, 2014).
I don’t agree to the said argument that when it comes to effective leadership by the technical expertise then communication skills though very important yet takes a secondary seat. It is very difficult to find leaders who are technical experts and can manage technology of the organizations and the other technical experts who are equally good academically and knowledge wise. It is a very sensitive way of managing people wherein they should never feel demeaning as employees who are highly educated and have good knowledge about the technology easily feel defeated. In the normal circumstance it is observed that people who are very good at their work and have the best technological knowledge and understanding rise up the management ladder but often prove to very bad leaders. Such as Steve Ballmer who succeeded as the CEO of Microsoft post Bill Gates proved to be a very bad leader and Microsoft saw a downfall in its share prices also in his era of leadership. It has been proved that basic leadership skills of good communication, relationship building, being aware of the surroundings and empowerment are to be practised by technical experts as well (Morreale et.al. 2000)
Here we discuss about how important communication is for a technical expertise to lead a team effectively. He should like all the other leaders belonging to different fields of management be able to communicate the goals and aims of the entity as a whole and also make people aware of the fact that how their contribution will enable the company to succeed. A technical leader is perceived as a person with high knowledge and he should have the ability to communicate and disseminate his knowledge base with his team members. A good leader should be able to keep its colleagues well informed about the happenings of the outside world as well (Patterson, 2014).
The most important side of communication of a technical expertise as a leader is felt when they have to divert the attention of the technical experts who are mainly engrossed in their work towards the happenings of the outside world , the world outside their own department. The technical leader’s biggest challenge lies in forcing the members of his team to come out of their shell and understand the fact that their work affects the other departments of the organization and thus it is of utmost requirement to make them aware of the same (Ronald & Elaine, 2015). This can be possible only if the technical leader has effective communication skills which would help its team members to think wide. Technical experts are hardly concerned or bothered about the bottom line of the entity and are just concerned about their own technical world. This connection can be established only if the technical leader can communicate effectively with the other experts in his team and generate an awareness (Robles, 2012).
Apart from this, a technical leader to have an effective communication skills is of utmost importance so that they can clearly explain a project in detail, outlining the steps of performance and the details of each step (Varma, 2000). Until and unless the said communication is clear and effective the workers will not be able to perform as desired even though the knowledge content is of the highest possible quality. Sufficient understanding of the work to be performed rather than possessing the necessary skills of performing the work by one’s self is a quality of a good leader (Heifetz, 1995).
Thus on a conclusive note I would like to reiterate over the fact that communication is the lifeline for any leader, either traditional or technical. No team can be led well if the leader fails to communicate clearly what the requirements of the team are, and what are the expectations from the team. Building up of cohesiveness within the team and beyond can be possible only if the technical leader has the basic communication skills imbibed. The motivating force, understanding issues and linking of organizational goals with the individual team goals can be possible only if their exists clarity in thoughts and processes which can only come if the communication lines are simple and the communicator is an effective orator who believes in what he says. Lastly one important thing to understand is that listening is also a form of effective communication. Thus the two phrases ‘effective leadership’ and ‘ communication skills’ are inseparable.
Patterson, A., (2014), Leader Evolution: From Technical Expertise to Strategic Leadership, Business Expert Press: New York
Heifetz, R.A., (1995), Leadership without easy answers, Harvard University Press: London
Gerber, S., (2014), Are Technical Skills more Important than Leadership Qualities, Available at : http://www.business.com/management/technical-vs-leadership-entrepreneur-skills/ (Accessed 23rd August 2016)
Morreale, S.P., Osborn, M.M., & Pearson, J.C., (2000), Why Communication is Important: A Rationale for the Centrality of the study of Communication, Journal of the Asociation for Communication Administration, vol. 29, pp. 1-25
Ronald, B., & Elaine, M., (2015), Leadership for Engineers: The Magic of Mindset, McGraw Hill: Berkeley
Robles, M.M., (2012), Executive Perceptions of Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace, Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 75, no.4, pp. 452-465
Varma, R., (2000), Research and Development (R&D) Management and Technical Expertise : Creating an Effective Managerial Environment for Maximizing Productivity, Management Development Forum, vol. 3, no. 1
Zenger, J., (2014), Individual Contributors Are “Forgotten Leaders”: Are you Developing them Well?, Available at : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackzenger/2014/02/27/individual-contributors-are-forgotten-leaders-are-you-developing-them-well/#67ef420a49f1 (Accessed 23rd August 2016)