EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 7
CoreConcepts in Effective Communication
CoreConcepts in Effective Communication
Communicationis recognized as a vital process in any organization, essentiallybecause it facilitates coordinated actions, the expression offeelings together with emotions, and the sharing of crucialinformation, which are all pertinent to the achievement of anorganization’s goals and objectives (Griffin & Moorhead, 2012).Equally important, effective communication facilitates theimplementation of organizational change. This assertion is based onthe observation that human beings naturally resist change, and thatfailure of change initiatives is often attributed to poorcommunication strategies by managers (Rick, 2014). Althoughresistance to change is sometimes witnessed even when managersdemonstrate diligent communication abilities, the fact is thateffective communication must support every desired change. Accordingto Heathfield (2016), a major mistake made by managers whenimplementing change is over-communication, which could be taken tomean that managers dominate the communication without taking theemployees` beliefs and values into consideration. For successfulcommunication to take place in an organization, managers must striveto create a shared meaning, which calls for several factors like goodleadership, active listening, a favorable organizational culture,conflict resolution, and diversity management.
Inorder for employees to have a shared meaning of the proposed change,they must be allowed to ask questions and give their opinions(Heathfield, 2016). Allowing employees to give their opinions islikely to reduce resistance to the proposed change because it createsthe impression that the manager respects the views of his or hersubordinates. Similarly, active listening increases the ability ofemployees to understand the purpose and significance of the proposedchange (Tofanelli, 2012). In order to promote active listening,managers should employ simple tactics such as allowing subordinatesto rephrase the manager’s comments while also asking any questionswhen they do not understand a particular concept.
Inasmuchas it is argued that no single leadership style works well in allsituations, supportive leadership is essential for successfulcommunication. Research shows that supportive leadership enhances thewillingness of subordinates to share knowledge (Information ResourcesManagement Association, 2017). In addition, supportive leaders createan atmosphere in which enthusiasm together with trust prevailsamongst members, and this makes members willing to share information.Effective communication also calls for ethical leadership, whichmeans that the leader must be honest, sensitive, and respectfultowards his or her followers (Mannan, 2013). In a context wheremanagers are introducing change in an organization, goodleadership-as described using the concept of ethical communication-requires that the manager must provide all pertinent information, andmust avoid deceptive information regardless of how negative it mightbe. Again, the leader should avoid stating his or her viewpoints asfacts (Mannan, 2013).
Organizationalculture is cited as one of the factors that hamper effectivecommunication (Zoogah & Beugre, 2012). The strategy chosen forcommunication is determined by several factors, including theorganization’s norms as well as values (Myers, Hulks & Wiggins,2012).The values that are held by the organization ought to createtrust amongst employees, as this has a huge bearing on the way inwhich employees perceive and interpret new changes as well asinformation communicated by superiors. Research has shown that inenvironments where there is a high level of trust between employeesand superiors, employees perceive the change to be legitimate (Myers,Hulks & Wiggins, 2012).
Businessorganizations today operate in a highly globalized environment,meaning that diverse cultures are represented in most organizations.Cultural factors have been identified as having a huge impact oncommunication, both at a personal level and an organizational level.Culture affects communication in various ways, an example being thefact that a given word may mean different things to different people(Zoogah & Beugre, 2012). More importantly, people from highcontext cultures attach high value to personal relationships, whereasthose from low context cultures give greater priority to the realissues as opposed to the formation of relationships. This means thatmanagers must recognize and pay attention to the different culturesrepresented within the organizations, and employ an appropriateapproach hen communicating to people from diverse culturalbackgrounds. In order to promote tolerance for diversity, which is aprerequisite for effective communication, it would be worthwhile formanagers to provide diversity training to all employees. This kind oftraining is helpful as it grooms employees to embrace theirdifferences, and to utilize these differences in enhancingorganizational efficiency (Zaineb, 2016).
Conflictis an inevitable phenomenon within any social setting. This arisesdue to different attitudes, views, and experiences among members(Isom, 2014). For this reason, managers must be adequately trainedand skilled in conflict management. Precisely, it is theresponsibility of managers to engage employees in dialogues that helpto resolve any differences in opinions and attitudes. Conflictmanagement or resolution is a vital ingredient for effectivecommunication because unless conflicts are handled appropriately, theaggrieved parties will most likely exhibit bitterness, negativity,and resentment towards others, and this obstructs effective sharingof ideas (Isom, 2014).
Tofoster effective communication through conflict resolution, severalrecommendations are made to managers. Firstly, it is important toemploy an integrative approach to conflict resolution. Here, themanager engages team members in a collaborative process ofidentifying the sources of conflict and ways of dealing with thisconflict. Alternatively, if the integrative approach provesineffective in resolving conflicting viewpoints and attitudes amongstteam members, it might be worthwhile for team leaders to considerusing computer-mediated mechanisms such as instant messaging togetherwith e-mail (Wang, 2016).
Communicationis key to effective decision-making and other strategic activitiesthat take place in organizations. Even though the definition ofcommunication suggests that it is a simple concept that essentiallyinvolves the transmission of messages from a sender to a recipient ofa group of recipients, it has been found that there is much more toeffective communication than the mere transmission of messages. Thisis particularly true in a scenario where change is being introduced.Owing to the fact that in most cases, change is met with some degreeof resistance, it is crucial for managers to embrace a number of keyconcepts that help to create and reinforce a shared meaning of theproposed change. These concepts include conflict resolution, activelistening, good leadership, a supportive organizational culture, anddiversity management.
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