Communication remains a critical component of successful organizations. The importance of communication has been empirically demonstrated and agreed. Recent studies on the subject indicate that there is a positive correlation between communication and organizational performance, including corporate output and employee job satisfaction (Nelson & Quick, 2011; Heath & Bryant, 2013). As such, knowledge of the process of communication, its gateways, and barriers are essential for all individuals in the business field. The following discussion examines five keys to effective supervisory communication, the barriers, and gateways to communication. Additionally, a case will be presented to illustrate a barrier to communication.
Five Keys to Effective Supervisory Communication
Communication remains a critical skill for managers. Effective management communication is correlated with high organizational performance (Nelson & Quick, 2011). The following five keys characterize effective supervisory:
Supervisors who are comfortable expressing their feelings and thoughts are more likely to be effective in communication than those who do not. Nelson and Quick (2011) assert that such supervisors can share their thoughts, feeling, and ideas, and speak out in meetings, and are therefore able to exchange information with ease compared to those who cannot express themselves.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Emphatic listeners listen and reflect on the information they receive during a conversation. Supervisors who are emphatic listeners can determine the emotional and feelings dimensions of their audience and are more likely to communicate than their counterparts who do not possess the same skill (Nelson & Quick, 2011). [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Persuasion is important in supervisory communication. Convincing leaders are those who encourage others to achieve their goals or results. According to Nelson and Quick (2011), such leaders are also aware when exceptions are to be made; for example, when decisions are immediate.
Although this skill is similar to emphatic listening, it differs significantly. Sensitivity requires a leader to consider the style of communicating so as not to place employees in embarrassing or awkward situations, thus showing concern for the self-esteem of the employees, as Heath and Bryant (2013) note. Sensitivity in communication is necessary when giving negative feedback.
This particular skill requires managers to determine the right amount of information when communicating. Heath and Bryant (2013) affirm that informative managers are those that disseminate enough information for a particular decision, consequently empowering others without causing information overload.
Barriers and Gateways to Communication
Barriers are factors that distort or impede communication. In contrast, gateways are pathways that serve as antidotes to the barriers of communication or the problems they cause (Nelson & Quick, 2011). The five key barriers to communication are stated below.
Physical separation can distort communication, especially when non-verbal cues are required to enrich the information shared. Although technology offers a solution to this barrier, it may not provide information that is rich as face-to-face communication. Face to face communication is an important gateway as it allows those communicating an opportunity to provide information that is rich in non-verbal cues (Nelson & Quick, 2011). Periodic communication can be achieved by scheduling meetings.
Organizational hierarchy and power is another important barrier to communication, especially when managers are communicating with their subordinates. Since managers are the primary source of information, employees are more likely to distort communication directed at their managers as opposed to that directed to their peers (Heath & Bryant, 2013). Supervisory communication such as emphatic listening and reflective listening act as gateways to communication problems associated with status differences, by making managers more approachable.
Different genders communicate in various styles. For example, women prefer face-to-face communication while men are comfortable with side-to-side communication, as Nelson and Quick (2011) observe. These differences in communication styles may lead to communication breakdown, especially when men and women do not understand how to communicate with each other. An important gateway to the barriers presented by gender differences is to educate employees on the communication styles of the different genders. Another gateway is to increase awareness on the need for individuals to seek clarification rather than interpreting messages in their own frame of understanding.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Different cultures have varying communication styles and patterns that may cause confusion during inter-cultural communication. People from various countries such as Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States have different work communication styles. Communication may break down when people from other cultures or even organization with various communication culture are introduced in an organization (Nelson & Quick, 2011). For example, workers from German may be unable to engage in direct and open communication with their supervisors in the US, as hierarchies and power are highly valued in Germany than in the US (Nelson & Quick, 2011). The gateway to this barrier is to increase awareness on the role of cultural values in communication and increase intercultural awareness on proper communication with people from different cultures.
Differences in language can either distort or breakdown communication altogether. For instance, s supervisor who speaks English cannot communicate with an employee who speaks another language, for example, Spanish. Another barrier can arise when two people trying to communicate speak with different dialects. For example, an American may find it difficult to communicate with a person speaking Nigerian Pidgin English due to dialect. Communication may also breakdown because of use of technical terms among nonprofessionals. One way to overcome such barriers is to talk in a declarative, direct, and straightforward language (Heath & Bryant, 2013). Another gateway is to seek the services of translators, especially when languages are different. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here
A Case of a Barrier in Communication
One of the most unusual cases of communication barriers I experienced was when an engineer was presenting a proposal for the improvement of our office network. The engineer was submitting a proposal on how to improve the current data transfer speeds and the security of the system. The audience was composed of our immediate supervisor and office employees. Unfortunately, none of the office employees possessed basic technological knowledge and concepts. During the presentation, the engineer kept referring to terms such as DSL routers, barricade plus wireless cables, encryption systems, 802.11b wireless access points, and other geeky terms. At the end of the presentation, the supervisor, other employees and I were more confused than we were at the beginning. I was tried to comprehend what was being improved to no avail. After the presentation, the supervisor called another IT specialist to explain what was really being improved in the office.
This case presented an appropriate example of language barriers. The presenter used jargon that IT professionals understand, but not laymen, consequently leading to a communication breakdown between the presenter and us. The presenter should have used simple language, easily understood by the audience. Also, he would have used brief, straightforward, and direct language while avoiding IT jargon. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Heath, R., & Bryant, J. (2013). Human communication theory and research: Concepts, contexts and challenges. New York: Routledge.
Nelson, D., & Quick, J. (2011). Organizational behavior: Science, the real world, and you (7th ed.). New York: Cengage Learning.