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thesis, communication, listening, leadership, servant leadership


In our world today, leadership is important in many organizations. Leaders create the opportunity to develop relationships based on listening. Listening is a multidimensional construct that requires further integration within leadership studies. This study aimed to seek the validity of focusing on listening within the study of leadership. The research promotes the understanding of the verbal and nonverbal characteristics of the listening process that have the greatest ability to influence a person’s leadership potential, as well as examining what leadership characteristics can influence a person’s listening. Understanding these characteristics presents evidence that listening deserves the recognition to be studied as an important communication skill. Specifically, the focus was to send a survey to an equal number of educational institutions and businesses to create a balance of education and implementation within a workforce. The survey was sent to these organizations and then a snowball sampling occurred. Total completed surveys included a response rate of 97.4 percent, and respondents indicated behavioral characteristics, as well as nonverbal responses to be important in a listening setting. Responses were compared to Kouzes and Posner’s Ten Commitments of Leadership and Greenleaf’s model of Servant-Leadership. Further results of this study, indicated that leadership settings incorporate certain verbal and nonverbal behaviors. This study supported that leadership is about behavior, rather than personality or character. Also provided are suggestions for further studies regarding these topics.


  • A thesis submitted to the faculty in Communication and Leadership Studies of Gonzaga University in partial fulfillment for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP STUDIES
  • Dr. John Caputo, Major Professor
  • © 2012 Kae Van Engen

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