Thursday, June 20, 2013

Communication and Effective Leadership in the Workplace

Have you ever wondered what makes an organization run smoothly? Well, it is simple. Communication is the key element that can make or break a company. Parsons & Urbanski states the following, “communication entails promoting and maintaining a workplace culture in which communication flows freely throughout the organizational structure. (2012)” They suggests that in order to have a productive workplace, communication must be able to flow in all directions. This means that coworkers can talk freely to their bosses, and coworkers can talk freely with other coworkers. This type of open communication allows for more ideas to take place throughout the organization. Unfortunately, in most cases there is about 14% of each hour at work that is wasted because of poor communication. (Parsons & Urbanski, 2012) Poor communication can be very damaging to a company. Not to mention, employees are left with a feeling of discontent. Open communication allows for employees to feel like that they have a voice and opinion. If more supervisors let employees express their opinions without criticism, the employees feel like they are actually a part of the company. Not to mention, employees might have solutions to problems that could greatly benefit the company. Stanley McChrystal said it best when he said, “I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and trust. (2011)” Mr. McChrystal is correct in his statement about leaders. Leaders/supervisors need to be able to listen, learn, and trust their employees. Leaders or supervisors can learn a lot if they would take the time to listen to their employees.

Internal and external communication is very important in an organization. If a company does not have good internal and external communication, then that company will have problems when a crisis situation occurs. The good news is that there are ways to improve both internal and external communication skills within an organization. Parsons and Urbanski suggests that companies do the following in order to fix internal communications: there needs to be more frequent communication between people within the organization, there needs to be an up and down flow of communication, the organization needs to promote communication, there needs to be a better design and writing in in-house emails and newsletters, communication needs to be more constant and all-encompassing, and supervisors need to inform employees about updates and so forth concerning the company to boost optimism. (2012) The more organizations utilize open and honest communication throughout the company; the happier the employees will be and will likely increase their chances of staying with the company. Parsons and Urbanski suggest that companies do the following in order to fix external communications: organizations need to showcase the company better on their web-sites, organizations need to develop better relationships with mass media, organizations need to participate and get involved with the media and the community, organizations need to create a positive image in the business, they need to create a plan that identifies the company as a trademark with objectives, and position the company as a leading expert in the market. (2012) If a company practices better external communication strategies, then stakeholders will be more likely to invest in the company. Also, the more positive the company looks publicly, the more likely the public will support the company. Therefore, the public will help increase revenue for the company. Unfortunately, as a company grows the more likely miscommunication will happen. This happens because people within the organization stop communicating to everyone. Also, coworkers start to get less and less updates from all management levels. Not to mention, the more people you have working in an organization; the more personalities and different cultural diversity issues arise. A failure to communicate can create a hostile working environment, employee anxiety, resentment towards management, and reduction in productivity. (Parsons & Urbanski, 2012) No one should have to or would want to work in that kind of office. There are three different types of work settings. He calls them the dehumanized climate, over humanized climate, and situational climate. The dehumanized climate is when the boss and coworkers have a master-slave relationship. This type of work setting is counterproductive, because the coworker has restricted rights and cannot communicate openly to their bosses. Over humanized climate is when human relationships are more important than the objectives of the organization. This is also counterproductive, because human relationships take precedence over the objectives of the organization. By putting human relationships first, the organization will eventually be hindered because the objectives are pushed aside. A situational climate is somewhere in between the other two climates, and that is what an organization needs in order to be productive. A situational climate allows both the objectives of the organization and human relationships to coexist in harmony. (Kline) This allows for open communication to occur between everyone in the organization. However, a company cannot have a dynamic company if the leader is not an effective communicator. Dr. John A Kline states that leaders need to do the following in order to improve their leadership: leaders need to encourage feedback from their employees, leaders need to listen effectively, leaders need to keep an open mind while they are listening to their employees, and they need to reduce misunderstandings in communication. The only way leaders can prevent misunderstandings in communication is to know the employees well enough to understand what the employee is trying to say. If a supervisor knows their employees, then that supervisor understands the employees’ different personalities. The supervisor will be able to tell whether or not an employee has a lack of interest or if the employee is nervous when an employee has twitches. Also, an effective leader should encourage group consensus. Using words like we, us, and the team instead of I, me, etc. creates a family environment within the organization. This will build trust, honesty, and an open-door policy throughout the organization. (Kline) Leaders that allow open communication in the workplace will have a much better organization. Personally, I love being able to talk to my boss openly about any good or bad situation. It allows us to brainstorm and come up with solutions to the problems. Not to mention, I feel like he and I are on the same team! If you want to learn more about leadership and effective communication please click on the URL’s below. Thank you for reading.

Recognizing Dysfunctional Communications a Means of Improving Organizational Practices

Listen, learn . . . then lead


1 comment:

  1. Jenny, you make some insightful judgements about proper communication techniques for workplaces. The fact that 14% of the average work day is wasted due to poor communication should be an eye-opener for organizations everywhere. In my own workplace, I find that a huge portion of my time is wasted on "waiting for my turn" with the boss. There are simply times when I cannot work any further without receiving some answers from my superiors, and if I could communicate that, I know that I would receive the attention I need sooner. I know this is a problem for other organizations, too, which is why frequent communication would come in handy. If I had the opportunity to frequently communicate with my superiors, they would understand the urgency of my communication needs. I also like Google's adaptation of "standing meetings," where chairs are unwelcome. This keeps useless chatter at bay and encourages purposeful, targeted communication techniques that will "get the job done." If more companies would utilize digital conferencing mediums, it would help a lot, too. I am a huge proponent of using technology and emerging media to get work done and improve time management, and your posting backs that notion up.