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The effectiveness of both forms of communication in bringing employees together or disseminating necessary information determines the success of any company. However, the organization's chosen leadership style affects how well and efficiently the dialogue is carried out. Informal communication relies on the adaptability of communication to enable each person to feel like a member of a group that works together to achieve a common goal, as opposed to formal communication, which is concerned with normative and informative communication in which members of a given organization are expected to pay attention to what is communicated. Therefore, the leadership style decides whether or not the leaders will strengthen or weaken informal or formal communication. (Hackman & Johnson, 2013). Participative and transformational leadership styles encourage both informal and formal communication while transactional style focuses on formal communication and disregards the informal aspect of communication.
Participative leadership has been known to be one of the leadership styles that promotes both informal and formal communication in an organization. In this form of leadership, the information and ideas are shared within the organization as a group. The involvement of all the members to present their inputs during a decision-making process motivates the members to discuss issues openly as the leader provides guidance on how the decision should be attained. Furthermore, transformational leadership provides the members with avenues to engage freely in informational sharing within the organization (Brandt & Uusi-Kakkuri, 2016). As much as the organizations having established hierarchies, the communication will be conducted through a two-way mechanism, in a manner that the leader will communicate the ideas and allow the members to provide feedback that is included in the final decision. Moreover, the informal communication is encouraged under this form of leadership whereby the members engage freely in sharing ideas under no strict guidelines that may limit their enthusiasm. Consequently, the open communication policy will encourage initiative when the leaders under this form of leadership encourage both downward and upward communication.
As much as conveying normative and informative information, the leadership focuses on encouraging the members to feel comfortable and be motivated to engage in motivational communication without being restricted to certain media. Therefore, both informal and formal communications rely on all forms of media for flow. The verbal and up-close communication that the transformational leaders encourage usually takes up a personal form of feedback in which the members are allowed to provide informal feedback within the shortest time possible to ease the flow of information.
Contrarily, transactional leadership stresses on following clear procedures when engaging in either informal or formal communication within the origination. When analyzed from Tuñez’s classifications perspective, it can be noted that the leaders in this kind of leadership are more focused on giving strict orders to the members while neglecting the feedback from the subordinates. For instance, considering the hierarchies at the organization, transactional leaders restrict the communication to a vertical manner in which only the leaders communicate the message and disregard the information flow from the subordinates (Men, 2014). Under this leadership style, the formal communication is encouraged more than informal communication. For instance, due to massive communication in which the leaders emits the information for consumption by the rest of the subordinates, there are no interpersonal relationships generated that would otherwise contribute to the development of informal communication. Besides, due to the focus on procedures and task achievement, the formal channel of communication like written and audiovisual means are used. Oral means only comes into play when the leader has to provide necessary orders to the subordinate concerning the subordinate’s individual work. Therefore, this leadership style restricts the flexibility of informal communication.
Brandt, T., & Uusi-Kakkuri, P. (2016). Transformational Leadership and Communication Style of Finnish CEOs. Communication Research Reports, 33(2), 119-127.
Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2013). Leadership: A communication perspective. Waveland Press.
Men, L. R. (2014). Why leadership matters to internal communication: Linking transformational leadership, symmetrical communication, and employee outcomes. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(3), 256-279.
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