One of the key pillars of any organization or workplace is the communication element. It has many benefits to a firm including creating an effective culture and enabling an organization to be more agile and to attain better alignment to emerging needs. Communication is also mentioned by Walker (2014) to improve important key performance indicators such as better engagement, talent attraction, employee retention, and motivation. The purpose of this task is to demonstrate my understanding of the lessons I have earned about communication from a business angle. It combines my classroom deductions and what I gained working in a practical workplace. Overall, communication is the most important element of an organization and interpersonal communication skills make an individual better towards the overall aim of a business environment.
Part A: The Critical Incident
In the current global environment, diversity in the workplace means that there are many people working in the same department or office from different backgrounds. A case of different people from different parts of the world working as a team may be a strength but also a source of weakness. A critical incident I witnessed involved the classic example of the effects of cultural differences in the workplace. Specifically, the use of language, figures of speech, and different expressions were a problem to migrant employees who are not native English speakers. Additionally, the language and phrases used may not be interchangeable in the different English-speaking formats such as American, British, Australian, or Scottish. In my organization, we had representatives from these backgrounds and a host of Chinese partners who were not conversant with the dominant phrases used by native speakers. As a result, there was poor communication because the intended meaning, the mode of conveyance, and the interpreted meaning were not always properly aligned. The diverse cultural setup led to poor communication because of the differences in language, pronunciation, accents, and other language-related elements.
Communication is not complete until the information passed on by one person is fully understood or comprehended as is by the receiver without distortion. Communication entails more than just transfer of information form one person to another (Coffelt, Grauman, and Smith 2019). Globalization has led to a diversified workforce. However, people of similar ethnic background also interpret information different because of difference in personal upbringing, life experiences and, how they view the world. However in my experience at the organization, cultural differences brought about poor communication. English was not the native language of every employee. In some instances, some phrases used, being direct, or being blunt would be considered rude in other cultures especially where gender, age, and superiority differences were involved. In other cultures, employees cannot offer their opinions until they are asked to even in an environment where there is open brainstorming.
The communication at my former workplace were made poor by the differences in language and understanding of the same caused by different upbringing and culture. For successful teamwork and cohesion, I would advise the manager to create better and engaging solutions that bring individuals together despite the diverse backgrounds. Team building activities would help bridge the language and cultural differences between different people. Additionally, training sessions on cultural differences and better communication strategies would help to educate employees on how to remain sensitive to the workplace diversity, cultural differences, and the need to use official languages to communicate. Communication was made poor by the fact that people from different cultural backgrounds did not interact outside of the work environment. Therefore, the niche languages remained within the local spheres. With team building activities, these conditions would have been improved significantly. Additionally, training and educating all employees on the need to maintain better communication would have led to better outcomes for the organization. Ultimately, the issues with cultural backgrounds and the effect on language can cause problems in the long run.
Part B: Your business communication skills
For the development of my own interpersonal communication skills in a work-based setting, I gained a number of insights. The first major requirement that I found important in developing interpersonal skills is exercising self-awareness. This means that I am able to consciously understand what I am feeling and why I have those feelings. It is a form of emotional intelligence made up of relationship building, emotions, and empathy (Okoro, Washington, and Thomas 2017). By being able to understand and manage my emotions and feelings, I can be cognizant of what messages I convey to other employees through non-verbal communication. Secondly, having a grip on nonverbal communication is important because it enables a person to know how to interact with others via eye contact, physical contact, facial expressions, gestures, and body language (Brown, Yu, and Etherington 2020). These nonverbal cues have the capacity to strengthen or weaken relationships depending on usage and context. The third insight I gained is always respecting other people’s culture, their beliefs, and understanding how they communicate. I found that showing respect and being sensitive to issues that may be interpreted as offensive helps to foster better work relationships. Additionally, showing empathy and putting into account the emotions or feelings of other people is a good way to create professional relationships. Lastly, I found that being a clear communicator is a requirement for every employee, allowing personal and professional relationship building. Effecting communication skills ay propel one to success and the lack thereof could lead to catastrophic failure (Khodijah 2018). Poor communication always put an individual and the organization at a risk of failure including loss of customers or poor work relations leading to reduced performance. All these interpersonal skills are important in helping one to engage actively in listening and communicating clearly and knowing how to behave in a manner that is interpreted as appropriate and respectful.
These insights will inform how I communicate with other people in work and personal settings in the future. By applying the knowledge acquired, I will be a better communicator, understand that nonverbal communication is a very visible manner of communicating, maintaining respect in all situations, being sensitive of differences in culture and language settings, remaining true to the intention of communication, and ensuring that I am empathetic and that I understand the feelings and emotions of others. In the future, I believe my interpersonal communication skills will have improved to make me a better communicator. I will have gained a better grasp on what not to do or say, know how to treat others better, and become an all rounded better and effective communicator. These insights will inform how I communicate with other stakeholders in the work setting such as customers and bosses. I understand that sometime individuals from different backgrounds view power distance differently. Therefore, I will know how to communicate better with the customer and the bosses depending on setting and situation. I believe that these insights will be key to helping me engage with people better.
Communication is important for a business organization because it creates an effective culture and enables a business to be more agile and to attain better alignment to emerging needs. For the individual, interpersonal communication skills allows better communication and reduces instances of poor or failure in communication. Form the critical incident mentioned in the discussion, it is clear that interpersonal communication skills are important in maintaining a cohesive team in the organization.
Brown, T., Yu, M.L. and Etherington, J., 2020, ‘Are Listening and Interpersonal Communication
Skills Predictive of Professionalism in Undergraduate Occupational Therapy Students?’ Health Professions Education, vol. 6, no. 2, pp.187-200.
Coffelt, T.A., Grauman, D. and Smith, F.L., 2019, ‘Employers’ perspectives on workplace
communication skills: The meaning of communication skills.’ Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, vol. 82, no. 4, pp.418-439.
Khodijah, S., 2018. ‘Strategy for Increasing The Students’ Interpersonal Communication Skills
through Problem-Based Learning.’ International Journal of Educational Research Review, vol. 3, no. 4, pp.150-158.
Okoro, E., Washington, M.C. and Thomas, O., 2017, ‘The impact of interpersonal
communication skills on organizational effectiveness and social self-efficacy: A synthesis’, International Journal of Language and Linguistics, vol. 4, no. 3, pp.28-32.
Walker, R. 2014, Strategic management communication for leaders. Nelson Education. P. 16-25.
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