Alan Bollard: Transformational Leader

Executive Summary

This report examines the leadership communication of Alan Bollard beginning from his background information and ending with a brief rhetorical analysis of a part of “Three Friends of Winter” public speech. The paper focuses not only on verbal communication including such abilities of the speaker as persuasiveness and consistency but also on the non-verbal communication that consists of the appropriate body language and audience engagement.

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As a transformational leader, Bollard uses new thought-provoking ideas supporting them with effective communication. The report identifies such essential rhetorical peculiarities as deliberate tone, strong arguments, and clear concepts used by Bollard. Finally, the report presents the lessons learned from communication analysis research. It was stated that Bollard’s style is useful due to his ideas and their presentation. Thus, it is necessary to learn from his leadership communication that an effective leader should possess innovativeness, logicality, and, last but not least, credibility.

Preamble

Rapidly changing markets lead to the fact that plenty of products and services that completely satisfied consumers’ tastes a few years ago, today become hopelessly outdated. It is the leadership that takes into account the changes the organization passes to anticipate customer behavior and create new needs and incentives. Changes occurring today in virtually every industry and profession require first and foremost a strong leadership and, namely, leadership communication. This paper aims at the identification of Alan Bollard’s leadership communication abilities and brief rhetorical analysis of his speech in order to make appropriate conclusions of his transformational leadership style.

Enlightening Background Peculiarities

Alan Bollard possesses Honorary Doctorates from Auckland and Massey Universities. He was the head of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Before the approval of the post of head of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Bollard served as Minister of Finance, Chairman of the New Zealand Commerce Commission and the director of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. Presently, Bollard serves as an Executive Director of the Singapore APEC Secretariat.

Mentioning the Core of Changes

The mentioned leader is best known for his outstanding transformational leadership strategy. In particular, Bollard decreased the inflation in New Zealand leading the country out of a large budget deficit and raising the New Zealand interest rates to a high level. In a series of his speeches, the leaders warned people of the necessity to be concise and cautious in the financial area in the framework of the monetary policy as the property prices might decrease, the employment might become scarcer, and banks will not always be operating in a world saturated with low-priced money. Moreover, Bollard stresses the significance of consistent improvement, which occurs due to the realities of the modern world. In its turn, the improvement will promote the design of a new vision that is essential to remain competitive and successful. Besides, the speaker proposes the organization engagement pointing out such benefits as the overall awareness of change and its collaborative implementation.

Bollard is also highly appreciated by his followers and other leaders. For instance, Holmes (2014) states that a flexible approach to inflation conducted by Bollard helped to reduce the negative outcomes of the global financial crisis in New Zealand while his communication contributed to it as well. Hackman and Johnson (2013) also emphasize the efficiency of Bollard’s leadership communication, in particular, his strong arguments and vivid examples that are clear and specific.

Ethos is a certain set of beliefs and values that guide the leader reflected in his actions and leadership style. The outgoing ethos of Bollard develops within co-operative communication. The speaker strives to engage listeners and make them imagine the situation he talks about that helps to understand it better. Based on the literature review as well as the listening Bollard’s “Three Friends of Winter” public lecture, it is possible to pinpoint the cogency of his style that is clear and logical.

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Communication Activities and Abilities

Speaking of Bollard’s communication activities, one might note a number of oral presentations and public lectures conducted in several Universities. For example, among his activities, there are “Three Friends of Winter”, several interviews, and conferences. Being an APEC Executive Director, Bollard conducts negotiations with partners and employees daily.

In order to be convincing, the speaker applies his charisma. The ability to influence others and get them to move in a certain direction is an essential skill of this leader (Barrett, 2011). In fact, Bollard’s leadership is often defined as the ability to persuade and influence others so that people will do something that would not be done without the leader’s convictions. Bollard’s other ability is expressed in motivation. The ability to motivate means the creation of stimulus for either listeners or employees.

Continuing to expand the field of non-verbal contact, Bollard adjusts a great number of parameters such as tempo, tone of voice, posture, gestures, and others, which allow the further endearment of the listeners and occurrence of deep trust.

In terms of leadership communication, it is important to pay attention to not only the way the information is transmitted but also the forms, specifics, and development. Although communication and information are different yet interrelated issues, it is necessary to consider them mutually (Tannen, 1995). Taking into account the above statement, Bollard clearly identifies the concepts he uses and structures sentences appropriately so that each listener can understand his ideas.

He also ensures the timeliness and accessibility of the information including objectives, tasks, and organization prospects as well as management policies for all employees of the organization. Bollard realizes that access to the information requires the establishment and maintenance of a variety of channels and methods of data exchange that is necessary for the efficient operation of the organization.

Inspiring People

Bollard applies the inspirational motivation leadership creating an apparent picture of the future that is both optimistic and achievable that encourages others to raise the level of expectations. He reduces the complexity by decreasing the problem to the key issues and uses simple language to convey the organization’s mission. The emotional intelligence helps Bollard to encourage listeners to use their imagination, suggest thought-provoking ideas, and search for new and creative ways to resolve common problems (Goleman, 2004).

In other words, one of the primary goals of Bollard is to develop employees’ self-confidence and their desire for self-development. Such an approach encourages people to reconsider their own ideas together with the organization’s overall goal (Barrett, 2011). As a public speaker, Bollard focuses on intelligence, rationality, and relevance.

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Communication as an Integral Part of Transformational Leadership

As a transformational leader, Bollard builds relationships with listeners on the basis of the transformation of the fundamental beliefs, values, and needs (Shelton, 2012). By means of the rhetorical communication skills, he creates an image of a confident and strong person persuading the followers to trust and follow him. The leader shows the success of his own example. Bollard’s personal leadership model strategy is important for followers.

Focusing on it, the employees evolve themselves towards increasing personal effectiveness. In this connection, Bollard’s transformational leadership is one of these styles of leadership that can inspire those, who follow a leader for the positive change. Transformational leaders are generally energetic and full of enthusiasm and passion (Barrett, 2011). Likewise, Bollard is interested in his work and deeply immersed in the process assisting in overcoming the current challenges.

It is also important to note that a set of videos, recordings, and written materials reflect the efficiency of his leadership communication. They show the listener or the viewer the peculiarities of Bollard’s both verbal and non-verbal communication. Due to the fact that the verbal communication abilities of the speaker were described earlier, it seems essential to focus on his non-verbal communication. In particular, the speaker uses gestures and looks at the audience moving his eyes from one listener to another. It creates the attentiveness of the audience as each listener feels the engagement in the communication process. Thus, Bollard’s body language used to illustrate and support his ideas make him a confident and authoritative speaker.

Three Friends of Winter

In order to understand the essentials of Bollard’s leadership communication, it seems necessary to conduct the rhetorical analysis of a part of his speech. Particularly, “Three Friends of Winter” public lecture addressing the major financial crisis of our time conducted on 23 July 2013 at Singapore Management University will be interpreted in order to deepen the understanding the leadership communication of Bollard (The “Three Friends of Winter”: How Economic Policy has Addressed the Major Crises of our Time, 2013). The purpose of the lecture is to specify the Great Depression, the Great Inflation, and the Global Financial Crisis.

Bollard uses figurative language, for example, a vivid metaphor of three friends of winter painted in a Chinese canvas, where the pine, the bamboo, and the plum stay for depression, inflation, and financial crisis. The style of the speech is persuasive and flows well as the pathos of the lecture is serious and grabs the attention of the listener (Campbell, Huxman, & Burkholder, 2015). The diction of the speaker is great as he speaks clearly at the right pace and emotionality. Primarily, Bollard uses an active voice creating the relevance of the problems. Moreover, he incorporated transitions, appeals, and bullet points to mark the most important parts of his speech. Simple middle-sized sentences promote the comprehension of the revealed ideas. Personally, I believe that this speech is rather clear and convincing as I understood the essence of the three concepts mentioned in the lecture.

Lessons Learned

Nowadays reality is globalization when the raised price of oil in one country can immediately resonate around the world. Therefore, the leader should be especially sensitive and pick up any, even very weak signals coming from the outside. Thus, leadership and communication are two interrelated concepts. One can learn a lot from Bollard’s leadership. As a speaker, Bollard focuses on the logic of the facts avoiding dogmatized schemes, instructions, and regulations.

It was revealed that a significant quality of Bollard’s communication is the ability of alternative thinking. For example, in a crisis situation, he is able to clearly identify the ways to overcome it. As for the responsiveness of his style, Bollard is ready to respond to the initiative of listeners and to show appreciation for it. In general, it tends to form a welcoming atmosphere that is of great importance for the right treatment of the speaker’s ideas (Hamm, 2006).

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Bollard is a pragmatic and goal-oriented decision-maker operating and organizing the work in the most rational way. The speech of Bollard might be described as natural, meaningful, and logic. It is also worth adding that in his speeches, Bollard prefers to improvise offering the listeners a new vision of the problem as in the “Three Friends of Winter” public lecture.

From my perspective, based on the profiled leader, leadership communication might be defined as successful information transmission to the listeners and the subsequent positive feedback. In order to achieve the efficiency of such communication, the leader should apply several tools including both verbal and non-verbal communication, consistency, and personal charisma. What is more, the speech should be supported by a new vision of the issue under the discussion. Besides, it is better to use the presentation slides to design the visibility of the information. In its turn, it would benefit the leader by creating a clear and deep understanding of the situation by listeners. Therefore, I consider that leadership communication is a comprehensive process requiring a number of listed components.

Conclusion

To conclude, it should be emphasized that Bollard acts as a transformational leader developing the innovative thinking characterized by initiative and the ability to create a new vision, new markets, and new leadership communication approaches. The communication of Bollard’s is specific, logical, and convincing that make him one of the most efficient leaders in the world.

References

Barrett, D. J. (2011). Leadership communication (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Campbell, K. K., Huxman, S. S., & Burkholder, T. A. (2015). The rhetorical act: Thinking, speaking, and writing critically (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Goleman, D. (2004). What Makes a Leader? Harvard Business Review, 82-91.

Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2013). Leadership: A communication perspective (6th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Hamm, J. (2006). The Five Messages Leaders Must Manage. Harvard Business Review, 1-14.

Holmes, D. R. (2014). The economy of words: Communicative imperatives in central banks. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.

Shelton, E. J. (2012). Transformational leadership: Trust, motivation, and engagement. Bloomington, IN Trafford Publishing.

Tannen, D. (1995). The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why. Harvard Business Review, 1-19.

The “Three Friends of Winter”: How Economic Policy has Addressed the Major Crises of our Time. (2013). Web.

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