Effective communication is a valuable talent and can be said to be an art. Possessing strong linguistic skills is the key to success in today’s world. The ability to communicate successfully is one of the prime qualities that organizations look for while selecting candidates. Knowing how to communicate one ideas and thoughts clearly is very important nowadays.
The essay tries to emphasize on the importance of manager and employee communication skills on organizational effectiveness. Before moving ahead one must have a clear idea about what is meant by organizational effectiveness. In the simplest form organizational effectiveness is described as how well organizations perform. This performance can be customer related as well as employee related.
Organizational and Individual Effectiveness
Organizational effectiveness has been an important innovation in the field of business management. No more are organizations only there to produce goods and earn profits. For example now profits are coupled with customer services, environmental concerns, charity work etc. this perspective has made organizations to bee effective in an overall manner rather then only in terms of sales and profits.
In determining organizational effectiveness, perhaps one of the fundamental factors is the quality of communication, either external or internal. Excellent communication simplifies processes, boosts teamwork and gives rise to an optimistic culture. In contrast, dysfunctional communication crafts an ambiance of misunderstanding, confusion and distrust.
Coming from organizations to individuals, and individual’s success is measured by his or her capacity to be effective within the company. No longer can individuals only rely on old traditions of punctuality, creativity etc to be guarantee success and longevity of their jobs. One of these new determining factors is also possession of outstanding communication skills. Communication is one of the basic functions of management or employees of an organization and its importance cannot be neglected. It is the process which helps in transfer of ideas, plans, opinions etc from one person to another. Thus, to be effective within an organization or in fact anywhere, one must be capable of presenting his ideas effectively to other people.
Elements of Effective Communication
In order to lay stress on the importance of communication skills, it is necessary to first outline some of the elements of effective communication. as communication is the exchange of information, this exchange can take place in several forms such as speaking, signaling, writing etc. this exchange though, involves the following elements; sender, message, transmission of the message, receiver and feedback. As a sender, ones primary goal is to communicate effectively. The sender succeeds if the following has been accomplished:
- The receiver understands the message transmitted.
- A favorable relationship is established between the sender and the receiver.
- The message encourages a desired response from the receiver (Cushman and Cahn, 1985).
For communication to be effective, the sender must first determine the need for the message. Then develop the message by gathering, sorting and organizing information. This helps to send the message to the point and helps the receiver to understand and interpret it the way the sender wanted to. A positive feedback from the receiver thus ensures the message has been successfully delivered in the desired way.
The Seven C’s of Communication
Organizational communication lays a foundation for grooming the environment of that organization. Every organization adopts a different style of communication to carry out their activities. This communication system can be a key factor in distinguishing an organization from another organization and also the communication system can be the backbone of success or failure for an organization. However effective communication is based upon seven basic principles:
- Courtesy: The message should compliment the receiver of the message.
- Clarity: It should be clear and explicit; it should not confuse the receiver.
- Conciseness: It should be concise and exact to grab the attention of the receiver.
- Concreteness: It should contain specific words and eliminate unnecessary words.
- Correctness: It should be accurate in every aspect. The overall appearance of the message should give a positive impression.
- Completeness: It should include all necessary information in order to bring forth a response from the receiver.
- Consideration: It should emphasize more on the receiver rather than the sender (King, 2007).
These seven C’s judge the quality of the message and the effectiveness of the communicator.
Organizational effectiveness is thus pretty much dependant upon managers and employees possessing and knowing effective communication skills. However the use and the requirements might vary in case of managers and employees. For this reason I would like to deal with both separately.
Managers and the Importance of Communication Skills
According to research, fifty to eighty percent of a manager’s time is spent in communicating with people in one way or the other (Bacal, 2004). This isn’t something astonishing, as on going communication is critical to every activity that takes place within an organization. Lack of effective communication can result in low performance management, improvement, understanding customers, synchronization of efforts etc. effective communication is very essential for building healthy manager employee relations. A manager cannot get his work done from employees if he is unable to put through his ideas in successfully.
Organizations have a multicultural atmosphere nowadays. The demographic make up of most of the companies these days is made up of people representing different societies and cultures. The religious and cultural differences between these groups are huge; still they are loyal as far as employers are respectful of their rights and differences. The best way to avoid confusion within and unwanted interruptions in productivity of the organization, require managers to realize the need for lucid and definite communication.
Every organization can be said to have at least four levels of communication; organizational level, departmental level, team level and individual level. The important thing here to note is that communication might be healthy at the upper two levels but in many organizations it is dismal at the lower two levels. The lower two levels however are as important for organizational effectiveness as the upper two. The interpersonal and communication skills of managers and supervisors at lower ranks are extremely decisive at these levels because the frontline workers develop their working relations with these supervisors very closely. Surveys have actually confirmed that many employees leave an organization because of non existence of fine relations with their immediate supervisors (Heath, 2007). Obviously if a business is unable retain competent employees then its effectiveness is lowered or damaged.
Communication between the business and the external world is also of importance. The external world includes all people related to the organization but, are not a part of the organization such as customers, suppliers, distributors etc. communicating with clients in an effective manner is an important factor to keep a business alive. As managers in most of the organizations are dealing with these clients as representatives of the company, it is important for them to possess good communication skills.
If a manager is unable to understand a clients needs and satisfy their quarries, than he or she can result in an irreparable damage to the business as they create an image of the organization and establish trust between the business and the client. For example if a manager is not able to communicate with suppliers properly, the supplier might not be able to cater to the organizations requirement. Also, good negotiations skills can help cut down costs and ensure quality service by the suppliers.
It has been seen in many organizations that managers are unable to communicate well and do not even try to create a climate where effective communication can foster within the organization (Bacal, 2004). This is not astonishing because if effective communication is not encouraged, a manager is unlikely to hear about it. The reason is that poor communication is self supporting and it removes a vital feedback loop. Good verbal and written communication skills are an important tool in a manager’s tool box. Without them, a manager might not be able to achieve a good reputation for himself and his department.
The Importance of Communication Skills for Employees
Employers all over the world want to hire employees who along with academic qualifications have a good grip upon communicational skills. In the workplace, language is deemed to be a powerful force and employees are expected to communicate quickly and effectively with supervisors and fellow workers. Numerous researches and surveys support the evidence of the fact that communication skills are important for workers.
For example a study by Robert Half International of one thousand largest employees of America revealed that ninety six percent of employers emphasized on the importance of communication skills for getting ahead (Flatley, 2005). Top organizations encourage employees to have outstanding communication skills in order to increase the performance of both themselves and the organization.
Research has proved a positive relationship between communication skills and job performance of employees (Luthans, 1989). For example the sales force of a company is responsible for representing a company’s product to potential customers. If a sales force employee is not able to put across his ideas clearly and convince the customer, he would not be able to sell the product. This will not only show incompetency or poor job performance on his part but also result in loss of potential customers. The overall effect would be lowering down of organizational effectiveness.
Clarity in communication is vital to an organization’s effectiveness. If employees are not able to communicate ideas clearly and successfully, their supervisor might not get a true picture of what is happening within the department. Lack of effective communication at employee level builds misunderstanding and uncertainty between departments. This affects employee performance and company turnover in the long run. Thus ineffective communication gives rise to conflict which is dangerous to an organizations productivity and effectiveness.
Communication skills enable employees to build good relationship with their supervisor which is a key to departmental growth and harmony. Encouraged employees try to come up with innovative ideas to increase a business’s productivity and performance. Effective communication is also considered to be a good motivating tool (Thomson, 2007). Faulty communication between employees and their managers can result in conflict and lowering down of morale. Low motivation and low morale of employees adversely effects organizational performance.
The Example of Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota has always done w wonderful business of selling cars due to their effectiveness in communication. At Toyota, communication skills by employees and managers are very important as these skills are used to help the company compete at a global level (Liker and Hoseus, 2007). For this reason the organization has developed techniques for enhancing these communication skills for both employees and managers. These skills make the communication process better, faster and more reliable which in turn makes employees work with commitment and ease. Honest and straightforward communication at Toyota improves individual performance and maximizes organizational effectiveness.
The fast pace of the modern business environment requires managers and employees to be adept at communication. Possessing effective communication skills is the key to success, both at individual and organizational level. Organizations that pay attention on improving communication skills of their employees experience improved organizational effectiveness.
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- Luthans, F. 1989. Organizational behavior. Fifth edition. McGraw Hill publishers.
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- King, W. 2007. Importance of communication in organizations.
- Liker, J and Hoseus, M. 2007. Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way. Published by Mc Graw Hill Publishers.
- Thomson, S. 2007. The importance of communication in an organization.