Effective Communication for Change Management

Research Question

How can effective communication improve the efficiency of a leader?

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Introduction

This report examines effective communication and its impacts on leadership efficiency. At present, effective communication has been modeled to integrate verbal and nonverbal actions when interacting with others. The paper performs theoretical and empirical literature review on effective communication and its relationship to leadership efficiency. The report then reviews the successes of leader X, who is a leading CEO in a blue-chip company in Dubai through the results of a primary interview.

Literature Review

Effective communication is the art of accurately and effectively encoding and decoding information in an organization through a systematic and reliable network among the parties involved (Sostrin, 2013). According to Obeidat, Masadeh, and Abdallah (2014), effective communication is a vital tool for improving work relations, exceeding goals, and managing a productive, and healthy organizational culture. In an organizational environment, a leader should be able to proactively tune to stable situational awareness in order to balance the emotions associated with effective leadership. The act of understanding, encoding, decoding, knowing, overcoming, and general awareness of how one’s actions affect others is referred to as effective communication (Sostrin, 2013).

In application, Harrison (2018) noted that effective communication compromises 93% of body language and tone with words accounting for only 7%. This means that effective communication is a multifaceted concept that involves encoding and decoding information in an organized and systematic manner. A research carried by Baxter (2015) suggested that lack of communication is the basis for a negative organizational cultural since it limits the ability to freely and effectively interact. For instance, a poor system for decoding and encoding messages in an organization might result in a deprived feedback tracking approach. The researcher concluded that an effective communication channel is a medium through which a message flows to its intended audience. For instance, during annual meetings, (Baxter, 2015) noted that an effective medium is capable of eliminating interaction barriers while encouraging strong and healthy workplace interface.

Another study by Dasgupta, Suar, and Singh (2013) indicated that effective communication is instrumental in managing expectations and role allocation in an organizational setting, since it involves direct or indirect interaction between the parties involved. The authors concluded that effectual organizational vision and direction are governed by an organized and effective communication since it reaffirms the sense of accomplishment and value. Sostrin (2013) suggested that good communication is a basic ingredient for sharing a sense of purpose and aligning an organization towards predicable and acceptable behavior. Hughes, Ginnett, and Curphy (2015) described desirable communication as an important attribute of leadership capable of controlling perception and behavior of other parties to accept and internalize any decision communicated. The ability to effectively balance the process of encoding and decoding information has the potential of creating an interactive, and focused work environment. According to Reina and Reina (2015), an environment where there is a good encoding and decoding network, the balance between leadership expectations and messages is accommodating, stable, and capable of preserving the dynamics associated with the channeled communication.

Several theoretical frameworks have been put forward to relate effective communication to leadership excellence. For instance, the expectancy theory of motivation as a leadership model examines the behavioral influences attributed to interactive decision-making void of stereotype, prejudice, and negative emotions (Harrison, 2018). This state can only be realized through an effective communication to promote creative leadership, which is a recipe for a proactive and imaginative interaction between parties involves. The expectancy theory of motivation model outlines performance stimulation as associated with effective communication channels that support timely encoding and decoding information in an organization.

Another abstract modeling connecting leadership efficiency to communication effectiveness is the arousal theory. Sostrin (2013) describes the arousal model as functional in the communication culture of an organization by creating transparent interaction norms capable of developing expectations, guidelines, goals, and controlled association between managers and other subordinates. For instance, a chain of communication starting from a self-opinionated or prejudiced point and directed towards subordinates is likely to motivate self-contempt (Harrison, 2018). In application, the arousal theoretical model supports a communication channel that is creative and systematic to integrate general motivation among the parties involved.

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Primary Research

Context

The person interviewed was an Arab CEO of a blue chip private IT company in Dubai. As a privacy concern, the interviewee will henceforth be referred to as Mr. X. The rationale for selecting Mr. X as a participant in this study was informed by his success in transforming the small company into a million dollar-firm over a period of five years. Moreover, the researcher was interested in relating the results of the empirical and theoretical literature review to the insights provided by the interviewee about the topic of effective communication and leadership efficiency. The interview was carried over the phone and lasted for forty-five minutes. The researcher secured the phone interview after a waiting period of five days and a verbal contract of nondisclosure. This means that the audio records or the identity of the respondent must remain anonymous.

Content

The researcher prepared five open-ended questions to capture personal insights of the interviewee and give room for further probing (see appendix 1). In line with the research question, the questions were aligned to concept of effective communication and how it is associated with leadership efficiency (Mason, 2017). The first five questions were very useful because they highlight the application of effective communication and personal experiences in leading an organization. Question 6 was not beneficial since the respondent was selected because of his excellent leadership skills (see appendix 1). Unfortunately, time constraint and interruptions associated with a phone interview did not allow for seeking personal opinion about the topic after answering the five questions. However, between the questions, it was possible to note down his personal insights on the subject matter.

Findings and Discussion

A critical review of the interview was carried out and the results discussed below. The analysis involved identification of critical effective communication concepts and how they are applied by respondent X.

Effective Communication Creates a Comfortable and Holistic Work Environment

Effective communication creates a smooth and dynamic channel for encoding and decoding information to inspire and sustain intra- and interpersonal relationships in organizations. Interviewee X noted that effective communication allows for passing of messages to the subordinates in a professional manner and making decision that are not discriminative or inspired by prejudice. As a result, the subordinates will respond positively and would want to associate with the leader due to the cultivated culture of mutual respect (Reina & Reina, 2015). Moreover, respondent X noted that effective communication is a key to unlocking the potential of everyone in an organization since it allows for consultative and interactive model for exchanging information (see appendix 2).

As a result, any leadership strategy in place is embraced by everyone, even when it does not address personal interests. The interviewee was categorical that effective communication catalyzes the formation of a healthy bond among the stakeholders in an organization since it is inspired by the need to accommodate the views of everyone when making decisions. This conforms to the concepts of creating a holistic and proactive work environment for optimal performance as discussed by (Harrison, 2018). The consultative nature of effective communication minimizes instance of diversion and affirms corporation within an organizational culture, irrespective of the position of an individual.

Effective Communication Improves Decision Making and Acceptance

Effective communication is laden with positive and professional channel for passing information on every aspect of the organization. As noted by respondent X, a leader should be an effective communicator in order to bring everyone on board when introducing or implementing changes in an organization. Since effective communication accommodates diversity and integrate systematic interaction, respondent X noted that it is important to bring employees on board since they will be responsible for implementing any proposal. Thus, a leader should use effective communication to create an inclusive environment that addresses the needs of everyone as discussed by Sostrin (2013). This state may occur when there is a good rapport between the leader and the subjects, which is a prerequisite for change acceptance. Respondent X further confessed that decision making and communication of the results is a dynamic process that should be handled with care (see appendix 2). This means that decisions made from limited information would not have optimal effects. Therefore, an efficient leader should be able to inspire confidence among the subordinates in order to gather adequate information in any circumstance as suggested by Baxter (2015). Employees would be comfortable with a leader who inspires confidence and respects their interests. In such an environment, the vision of the leader will not only be supported by the subordinates, but also internalized in the performance parameters.

Limitations

The phone interview was characterized by several interruptions and the researcher had to explain to respondent X what has been covered when the conversation resumed. In addition, the sample space of a single respondent is not representative of the general population. Thus, the results are limiting and cannot be used to draw any scientific inference. However, the researcher actively probed the respondent to capture adequate information as a strategy for minimizing the impacts of the above limitations.

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Conclusion

Effective communication is an instrumental leadership attribute for creating stable channels used in encoding and decoding information in an organization. Managers should be effective communicators to create healthy relationships in organizational and guarantee acceptance of the change. The findings of the interview conform to the empirical and theoretical literature review by confirming that effective communication is an ingredient for leadership efficiency.

References

Baxter, J. (2015). Who wants to be the leader? The linguistic construction of emerging leadership in differently gendered teams. International Journal of Business Communication, 52(4), 427-451.

Dasgupta, A., Suar, D., & Singh, S. (2013). Impact of managerial communication styles on employees’ attitudes and behaviours. Employee Relations, 35(2), 173-199.

Harrison, C. (2018). Leadership theory and research: A critical approach to new and existing paradigms. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hughes, R.L., Ginnett, R. C., &Curphy, G. J. (2015). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience(8th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Mason, J. (2017). Qualitative researching. London, UK: SAGE.

Obeidat, Y., Masadeh, R., & Abdallah, B. (2014). The relationships among human resource management practices, organizational commitment, and knowledge management processes: A structural equation modelling approach. International Journal of Business and Management, 9(3), 9-26.

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Reina, D., & Reina, M. (2015). Trust and betrayal in the workplace: Building effective relationships in your organization (3rd ed.). Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Sostrin, J. (2013).Beyond the job description: How managers and employees can navigate the true demands of the job. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Interview Question

  1. How do you use effective communication to manage your organization?
  2. Kindly highlight experiences when you properly applied effective communication?
  3. What benefits can you associate to effective communication in your organization?
  4. How do you communicate changes in the organization?
  5. What does it take to be an effective communicator from your personal experiences?
  6. Are you an effective leader? Kindly explain.

Appendix 2: Interview transcript excerpts on Healthy Relationship and Accepting Change

Interviewee X noted,

“Decision making and communication in my organization are importance concepts that I tried as one. I am very keen in communicating to gain support of the subordinates because they will implement my decisions at the end of the day… I have to bring them on board to ensure that they accept any decision I have made. I always strive to make them feel appreciated and comfortable… I also manage their expectations through a programmed, systematic, and flexible communication approach.”

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