Interpersonal Communication for Engineering Leaders

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Overview

This course covers communication skills that engineering leaders use every day to motivate, inspire, and support the people in their organizations.

Speaking and writing are basic leadership communication skills. (We covered these topics in the Specialization course 1 and 3.) However, leaders also need to be skillful interpersonal communicators. Modern business requires communication skills that are effective across cultures, generations, and genders. Communication is also a key skill in building your personal brand. Leaders need to look, act, and speak like leaders. Another important leadership skill is the ability to handle difficult, emotional communications with employees, supervisors, and colleagues. Finally, engineers are often at the center of crisis communication.

In this course, you will learn
1. How to communicate in a global environment,
2. How to communicate across cultures, generations, and genders
3. How to use communication to build your personal brand, communicate your values, and your leadership promise
4. How to handle high-stakes, emotionally charged, difficult conversations with employees, supervisors and your colleagues
5. How to handle crisis communication


Required Material Disclaimer- The purchase of a case study is necessary to complete this course, as it is tied to an assessment. This case is an excellent illustration of the typical business situations requiring skillful handling of difficult conversations. Currently, the cost associated with this case study is $8.95 USD and is subject to change.

Selected materials courtesy of Communiation Faculty at Rice University - all rights reserved.

Syllabus

Specialization Introduction - Communication for Engineers

Course Introduction - Interpersonal Communication for Engineering Leaders

Week 1: What Influences the Way People Communicate?
-Today’s global business environment makes good communication more important than ever. Those who lead virtual global teams need to be great communicators. They need to be able to persuade others, build trusting relationships, and motivate productive teamwork. To bring out the best in people and to find the common ground where true communication takes place, you need to understand the things that influence the way people communicate, including culture, gender, and generation. When you understand these influences, you can avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings, and you can help everyone focus on what’s really important—the business.

Week 2: Communicating With Leadership Presence in the Workplace
-As you learn to do the things that leaders do—make decisions, develop a vision, talk to people and inspire them, manage productivity—you need to develop the skills that make you look, act, and speak like a leader. A personal brand will tell others what you value and what you promise; personal presence will help others see you the way you see yourself; and learning how to lead productive meetings will differentiate you as a leader who gets things done.

Week 3: How to Handle Difficult Conversations
-Strong interpersonal communication skills are crucial in effective leadership. Tough conversations happen when we disagree about important issues, and knowing how to handle difficult conversations can keep a team or an organization running smoothly. In this module, you’ll learn how to handle disagreements and diverging opinions and how to use conflict to strengthen teams and organizations.

Week 4: What to Say, and What Not to Say, in a Crisis Situation
-In this module, we will practice communication in the context of crisis situations. You’ll learn how to handle crisis responses, how to save your company’s good name, and who you should pay attention to when communicating about a crisis. Skillful crisis communication makes crisis management effective.

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