Volume 5 : 1 January 2005

Some Suggestions for Those Seeking Professional Careers
Harish Shukla



Leadership in a multilingual country like India is a very complex phenomenon. What qualities that a person should possess to become a national leader? What qualities that this leader should continue to develop to sustain his or her position in national leadership, to be continually recognized as a national leader? Are there similarities between the leadership at lower levels, for example, the superviors employed in the various zonal railway systems of the Indian Railways who are called upon to work in inter-state, inter-zonal divisions with multinlingual labor force, and the national leaders who occupy posh offices in big cities, who lead the political parties, or national trade unions, etc?

Language is a medium to express and exchange ideas, thoughts, opinions, views, emotions etc. among people. It is an effective means to effective leadership. The command over language, especially the command over oral ability, is an essential quality of an effective leader.

Leadership is the ability to get the work done from the followers without force. A leader is one who is accepted by the followers. This definition emphasizes the words 'without force.' That means a leader may have the required authority or command, but he or she may get the desired output from the followers without exercising this authority in any manifest way. Effective use of language comes very handy in this respect.

A leader uses three types of abilities - conceptual, analytical and technical. But for the expression of any type of ability he needs competence in the area of communication. This competence includes mainly written and oral forms of language.

This paper discusses the oral aspects of language that are essential for an effective leader. Competence in the oral skill is very important because it is observed that the use of oral communication by a leader with his followers is more than 80% of the leader's transaction with his followers. Effective oral presentation or oral communication is a key to successful leadership.


  1. Informative Purpose: It refers to only passing information from one individual to another.
  2. Instructional Purpose: It refers to providing training to the subordinates to perform a specific task in a specific way through instructions by the superior.
  3. Persuasive Purpose: Oral communication is useless if the sender fails to convince the receiver. This purpose refers to getting desired response from the receiver.
  4. Topics: It refers to choosing the topic, keeping in view the interest of the audience. If the topic is not interesting, the audience may not respond in the way the sender has thought of.
  5. Place or Situation: It refers to choosing the topic according to place or situation. This limit of topic and situation needs to be respected by sender.


Persuasiveness: It is one of the most important aspects of leadership. A leader may have very good communication ability but it may be useless if he fails to persuade his followers. Just delivering the message is not the main purpose of communication; but to receive the desired action from the followers is the main purpose. Language plays a crucial role here. The choice of words, their pronunciation, style of presentation, audience awareness, etc. are needed to be taken care of by the leader. How can a supervisor communicate well and get the work done if he does not communicate in the idiom of his subordinates? Situations prevailing in bilingual or state borders within various zones of the Indian Railways really need to be studied by communication experts. Bilingual taluqs in India need special attention in this regard from the state governments.

Creativity: It refers to development of innovative ideas among the followers. A leader should provide an environment conducive to his followers to generate and exchange ideas about a problem. He can play the role of a facilitator here. He can ask every subordinate to present his ideas with proper explanation of related facts. In this way he can provide them training of effective presentation that will be highly beneficial for them in future. Is the leader capable of comprehending the oral communication of his or her subordinates? Does he or she take extra effort to develop his or her skills in communicating via the dialect of the subordinates? For how long a civil engineer with no knowledge of the local dialect will be able to really perform his duties well? Can this civil engineer really understand the local arrangements that are often done with great creativity to overcome the hardships met by the people in his sub-division?

I would strongly suggest that a close study of George Fernandez by some political scientists with regard to the communicative competence of Mr. Fernandez be undertaken. He and Lalu Prasad offer excellent situations for study in this regard.

Technical Knowledge: During his conversation with other people, a leader comes to learn a lot of things about his specialized area. He acquires technical knowledge from other media of communication - written/reading material may be a book, magazine, research papers, etc.

Modern era is known for technical competence and for acquiring this competence one needs to have specialized knowledge. This knowledge comes mainly from oral and written communication.

Open-mindedness: It refers to welcoming of ideas from followers. Language habits of the subordinates is nourished if they are given freedom of expression of ideas, thoughts, suggestions, opinions, emotions, problems, etc. A leader can provide this freedom if he knows the importance of open-mindedness. Communication refers to sharing of ideas, thoughts, etc. It can be ensured if the leader allows the flow of ideas, thoughts, etc. naturally. Greater is the open-mindedness from the side of leader, greater is the open-heartedness from followers.

Social Consciousness: Every human being is a social creature. Everybody has got some social responsibility. A leader should also have social consciousness as the followers often come to him with their problems. Language is the tool through which they present their problems. They communicate their problems mainly orally. A conscious leader can not use the barrier of communication-closed-mind. By solving their problems he can enrich the sense of belonging, cooperation, mutual trust, inter-personal relations, group-behavior, and team-spirit. The effective use of communication is needed to ensure these things. By his communication ability, he can win the hearts of his followers.

Decision-making: It is an intellectual ability which calls for judgment and imagination to choose the best alternative from among many. Written and oral communication is needed to arrive at a decision. For a leader it is very essential to take proper decisions. For this he needs to provide opportunity and environment to his followers to generate creative ideas. These ideas are generated when his followers get freedom of speech. These creative ideas become decisions after proper diagnosis, evaluation, and selection of the best alternative. A sound decision occurs only after proper discussion, which is generated from oral communication between leader and his followers. A leader can play the role of a facilitator in the process of decision-making. The techniques used worldwide for the generation of ideas are Risk Analysis, Brain-storming, Synectics, Preference Theory, Nominal Grouping, etc.

Motivational Ability: When a leader expects desired action from his followers, he needs to motivate them. Motivation is needed for followers to realize their real potential and for achieving success. The words full of praise can highly motivate a person. As it is found that oral communication is used most of the time in all the organizations of the world, a leader can motivate his followers by using positive and pleasing words. These words appeal to them. They are ready to perform any task involving any degree of difficulties and challenges.

Faith: It is an indispensable bond between two or more people working for the same cause. Faith generates from the type and quality of words being exchanged between leader and his followers. Oral communication is a very effective tool to generate faith. Its effective use by the leader helps him to convince his followers. Once convincing is there, faith starts generating for each other.

Responsibility: According to Henri Fayol, father of modern management, "Authority flows from responsibility." Responsibility means to be accountable to superior. A leader makes his followers realize their responsibilities through oral communication. He does so when he finds that they are deviating from their goals. He makes them realize their responsibilities by using positive and pleasant words. It is essential for the leader to follow the principle of courtesy here. He can convince them for the desired purpose by using polite language.

Positive Attitude: Attitude is a tendency to act favorably or unfavorably to a person, a situation, a phenomenon, a criterion. A leader realizes the importance of positive attitude. When he confronts a problem, his positive attitude helps him in an in-depth study of the problem. He asks his followers to find the solution with the same attitude. Positive attitude is developed from positive thinking. For positive thinking positive ideas are needed and for their expression positive words are needed. The principles of communication clarity, conciseness and courtesy are needed here.


Communication ability is an important characteristic that we must develop in our students who seek professional careers. These abilities develop slowly, but a conscious effort in developing these will help a lot. Every successful organization has one major attribute that sets it apart from unsuccessful organizations: dynamic and effective leadership. There is a continual search for persons who have the necessary ability to lead effectively. But there is always a shortage. This shortage of leadership is not confined to business, but is evident in the lack of able administrators in government, foundations, churches, and every other form of organization. The lack of ability is often related to the leadership's inability to use an effective and persuasive language.


Harish Shukla
Head of the Department of Humanities
Shri Vaishnav Institute Of Technology and Science
Gram Baroli, Alwasa, Indore - 453331, Madhya Pradesh