Q: Why are effective communication skills important in developing leaders?
A: “Leadership is about finding opportunities to create a unified purpose among people and [that] is going to require a tremendous amount of communication skills,” says Brian Horgan, assistant head of school at Gilmour Academy. “We have kids engage in seminars where pivotal questions that don’t have easy answers are put on the table like, ‘What is just?’ Ultimately you are going to get different opinions, so it’s how you resolve those differences. The seminar is there to hone the skills of dialogue. Rather than being confrontational, students are taught the skills of teasing out positions, saying, ‘I think I understand, but can you tell me more?’ To be able to listen deeply, to develop a deeper understanding, so you can respond to that with thoughtfulness and empathy.”