Communication is one of the most important factors of success in any organization. Communication among employees as well as between employees and management is a determinant of organizational efficiency and effectiveness (Miller, 2014). Effective communication facilitates decision making, problem solving, proper comprehension of job requirements, and dissemination of information and knowledge within the organization. In addition, it helps in analyzing potential problems that organizations face.
It is critical for managers to understand and implement various communication concepts in order to improve the performance of individual employees and teams. On the other hand, many successful companies integrate effective communication into their organizational culture because it improves relationships with clients and enhances the smooth running of business operations (Miller, 2014). Successful communication incorporates several aspects such as listening, speaking, nonverbal cues, and written messages.
There are several concepts that are critical for the successful communication in the organization; among them, one can distinguish conflict resolution strategies, active listening, leadership strategies, organizational culture, as well as the differences between formal and informal communication because they are important for explaining different interactions within companies and anticipating possible challenges.
Conflicts are a common occurrence in the workplace that is inseparable from the work environment of any organization. Therefore, managers should find ways of resolving these conflicts instead of avoiding them. Effective communication is an important aspect in the resolution of conflicts. Managers should aim for win-win solutions that satisfy the various needs of disagreeing parties (Davidson & Wood, 2004. Resolution of conflict is an important concept that creates successful communication within an organization. Leaders should ensure that they resolve workplace conflicts without favoring or offending the parties involved.
This can be achieved by avoiding bias and thoroughly analyzing the cases presented by all parties that are involved in a conflict. Proper conflict resolution keeps employees focused on organizational goals without allowing personal or political issues to interfere in any way (Miller, 2014). Managers should choose the most effective conflict resolution model and use such incidents as learning opportunities that foster personal growth and development (Davidson & Wood, 2004).
Collaboration is the most effective conflict resolution that results in win-win situations. It involves initiating discussions between warring parties that aim to find a mutually beneficial solution. Collaboration encourages creative problem-solving and fosters respect among conflicting parties (McClellan & Sanders, 2013). It allows employees to openly express their concerns and issues in ways that do not offend or criticize openly. Effective conflict resolution methods involve active listening by managers and thorough analysis of input from different parties involved in a disagreement. Managers should use different conflict resolution methods depending on the nature of conflicts (Davidson & Wood, 2004).
Poor communication is one of the outcomes of employee conflicts in the workplace. Therefore, managers should ensure that all conflicts are resolved speedily and effectively in order to avoid bad relationships among employees. Conflicts lower performance, productivity, motivation, job satisfaction, and the overall output of the organization (McClellan & Sanders, 2013).
Attentive listening is an important aspect of effective communication. The ability to listen actively, provide feedback, and comprehend the meaning of messages is important for various professionals at the workplace including employees, managers, and supervisors (Comer & Drollinger, 1999). Active listening involves paying attention to the words being spoken, how they are spoken, observance of the use of non-verbal cues, and taking into consideration the expectations of the speaker. It is important to use skills such as clarification and reflection in order to understand the message and avoid disagreements that are commonly caused by misunderstandings (Miller, 2014).
Good leaders listen attentively to their employees by focusing on the message being delivered and desisting from interrupting them while they are talking. Empathizing is an important part of active listening because it allows the listener to embrace and consider matters form the viewpoint of the other party (McClellan & Sanders, 2013). In this way, an agreement is reached by both parties after considering the issues raised by each part.
Active listening also involves several techniques such as paraphrasing the speaker’s words to demonstrate full comprehension and eliminate the possibility of misunderstanding. Overcoming barriers such as premature judgment, environmental distractions, misconceptions, inappropriate arguments, and interrupting the speaker is important in enhancing active listening (Comer & Drollinger, 1999).
Active listening allows employees and managers to understand the concerns of other people and as such resolve disagreements and conflicts satisfactorily. Managers can acquire active listening skills such as paying attention, being present and relaxed, maintaining eye contact, keeping an open mind, giving feedback, and empathizing with the speaker through on-the-job training and mock sessions. Giving regular feedbacks lets the speaker know that the listen understands their message and also gives them an opportunity to know what they think and how they feel about it (Comer & Drollinger, 1999). Managers play an important role in the success of an organization especially due to their role in handling employees daily.
The way employees are treated by managers determines their level of motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity. Managers need to learn how to listen to employees in order to identify the various issues that affect their work. The top management cannot learn about the changes they need to implement if they fail to listen to employees.
Leaders should identify a set of leadership skills and practices that should be possessed by employees based on their hierarchy level in the organization. Application of leadership strategies is primarily useful when an organization is going through a tough time. Examples of critical leadership skills that all employees should possess include well-developed communication skis, integrity, honesty, motivation, commitment, willingness to embrace change, and readiness to take initiative (McClellan & Sanders, 2013).
In any organization, employees adhere to the directives issued by their supervisors regarding various workplace matters such s appropriate employee behavior and etiquette. The employee-supervisor or employee-management relationship is very important in the attainment of organizational success. Therefore, it is important for leaders to adopt different leadership strategies that employees respond to effectively. One of the most effective strategies for successful communication in an organizational setting is engaging employees in discussions and face-to-face meetings (McClellan & Sanders, 2013).
Employees face numerous challenges and obstacles in the workplace that lower their productivity and performance. Conducting frequent meetings allows employees to present their grievances, opinions, and ideas regarding the state of the organization and the changes that need to be implemented. Moreover, such meetings strengthen employee-management relationships that are critical in creating successful communication within an organization. Employees need to feel that their leaders are always available to listen to them and help them solve their problems (McClellan & Sanders, 2013).
Another leadership strategy to foster effective communication is to facilitate the creation of a culture that is based on organizational learning. Successful leaders promote a culture of inquiry among employees and learn from the mistakes and failures of their organization (McClellan & Sanders, 2013).
In addition, they encourage employees to constantly grow and improve themselves by learning from unfavourable outcomes and using the lessons learnt to make improvements. Communication within an organization is likely to improve constantly if employees keep on learning, exchanging ideas, and engaging their leaders on various issues that they consider important for their organization (Miller, 2014).
The main objective of a culture of learning is to encourage interactions among employees and between employees and the management team. Another leadership strategy than can be sued to enhance successful communication is teamwork. Many successful organizations achieve effective communication by encouraging their employees to work in team as opposed to working individually. Teamwork encourages and increases employee interaction and collaboration in activities such as problem solving, decision making, and brainstorming (Miller, 2014).
These activities allow employees to identify and improve their communication strategies because by interacting more, they gain knowledge about the strategies that work and those that do not work. For instance, some organizations communicate through verbal messages while others prefer written messages. An organization identifies the most appropriate and effective communication methods by encouraging interactions among employees. Every organization should offer opportunities for leadership training to employees by organizing workshops and creating mentorship programs.
An organizational culture comprises a set of values, principles, assumptions, and standards that govern employees’ actions, behaviors, interactions, and aspirations at the workplace (Alevsson, 2002). Every organization should have a set of values and principles that reflect its mission and vision. The concept of creating an effective culture is important because it infiltrated and influences every business process within the organization.
In addition, it ensures that employees work towards similar goals with regard to performance expectations (Alevsson, 2002). Employees follow and support organizational cultures that are embraced by their leaders. Therefore, the management should demonstrate the importance of organizational culture by acting as role models. A good culture promotes successful communication between employees and the top management and allows employees to present their opinions and ideas openly without victimization and increases access of employees to their leaders (Alevsson, 2002). As mentioned earlier, increased interactions at the workplace improve communication.
Organizational culture can be beneficial if it is reflected in workplace aspects such as job design, performance appraisal, decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and employee remuneration (Alevsson, 2002). An effective culture creates flexible organizational structures that define hierarchies and the flow of work as well as communication in the organization. In addition, it clearly defines the rituals and routines of the organization. It is important for leaders to articulate their organization’s objectives and goals to employees in order to streamline business operations. Employees communicate successfully when they are fully aware of what they are expected to do, how they are required to achieve, and the outcomes they are expected to attain (Alevsson, 2002).
Formal and informal communication
Knowledge of formal and informal communication is important because it facilitates the evaluation of employees, overt attitudes and their true beliefs. Informal communication is defined as any form of communication that is contrary to the forms of communication recommended by an organization (Miller, 2014). Common forms of communication include memos, emails, letters, phone calls, fax, notices, twitter messages, company blog, impromptu meetings, and presentations. Informal communication can also be defined as any form of casual interaction between employees. A workplace cannot thrive without informal communication.
Therefore, leaders should implement policies to ensure that it is not the dominant form of communication in the workplace. Informal communication is beneficial because it illustrates worker’s unbiased views regarding their organization’s policies, strategies, operations, and processes (Miller, 2014). In addition, it helps managers identify weaknesses in their strategies and operations. It is not limited by certain policies or standards that organizations implement to manage formal communication. Formal communication is any dissemination of information that adheres to the rules of an organization’s communication policy or plan, and flows vertically and horizontally (Miller, 2014).
Vertical communication involves the flow of information from the bottom (employees) to the top (management) and vice versa. The management issues directives to employees and employees provide feedback to management. Horizontal communication involves the flow of information among employees who are at equal organizational levels. For example, employees might hold a meeting to discuss team progress or heads of the human resource and finance departments may meet to discuss cost-cutting measures. Whether formal or informal, communication within the organization should be based on trust, integrity, and openness (Alevsson, 2002).
Employees should be aware about the meanings of various non-verbal communication cues that are used at the workplace in order to avoid misunderstandings that can have disastrous consequences on performance and productivity. For instance, I learnt about the importance of this concept when I worked as a volunteer in a not-for-profit organization. Employees used touch as a form of communication that expressed the bond they shared as a family. I was initially vexed by the gesture but became comfortable with it after the supervisor explained to me its meaning.
The discussed concepts are important for analyzing the performance of the organization and identifying the causes of various changes faced by the company. Communication is an important aspect of the attainment of organizational success. Effective communication is influenced by many factors that are determined by the quality of leadership in an organization. Concepts that are critical for the successful communication in the organization include conflict resolution strategies, active listening, leadership strategies, organizational culture, as well as the differences between formal and informal communication.
These concepts are important for explaining different interactions within companies and anticipating possible challenges that could affect the attainment of goals and objectives. The process of addressing the aforementioned concepts should involve the participation of employees because it is only by addressing their welfare that successful communication within the organization can be attained. Each of these concepts contributes towards successful communication in a different way.
For instance, conflict resolution removes barriers that hinder employee interactions while leadership strategies help in the inculcation of certain values and leadership skills in employees. The main aim of these concepts is to harmonize and streamline the activities of employees in such a way that effectiveness and efficiency is increased. The implementation of these concepts will ensure that the organization achieves successful communication that will contribute significantly towards the achievements of its goals and objectives.
Alevsson, M. (2002). Understanding Organizational Culture. London, England: Thousand Oaks.
Comer, L., & Drollinger, T. (1999). Active Empathetic Listening and Selling Success: A Conceptual Framework. The Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 19(1), 15-29.
Davidson, J., & Wood, C. (2004). A Conflict Resolution Model. Theory into Practice, 43(1), 6-13.
McClellan, J., & Sanders, M. (2013). Reorganizing Organizational Communication Pedagogy: Attending to the Salient Qualities of a Communicative Approach to Organization. Review of Communication, 13(4), 249-268.
Miller, K. (2014). Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.