Management is complex process that involves interaction among various factors within an established setup. According to Hart (1997) management is a process in which individuals are involved in planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating and controlling all the factors of production to produce more certainly favorable output. As such effective management and management are inextricable. For a individual to be effective or efficient as a manager or a leader it is imperative that he or she possess excellent communication skills, perhaps better than the subordinate or the congregation that he or she is leading. Leadership and management are indeed inseparable, because managers are business leaders, (Harair, 2002).
As result effective communication is equally important in leadership as it is in management. It is of paramount importance for leaders as well as managers to learn how to communicate effectively, so that colleagues and subordinates can well understand them. According to Harair (2002) communication skills are essential for success in management. Indeed success in management is basically entrenched in the ability of such a manager to convey his ideas and messages in the best way possible as well as his or her ability to listen effectively to other’s interests and concerns, within and without the organization set up. For managers and business leaders, it would be suicidal for them to leave the most important constituent part of management (business communication) to chance. (Hollandsworth, 2004)
In order to be effective, a manager needs to raise his or her awareness, develop to the greatest level possible his communication skills and most probably become a mentor for effective and efficient communication within and without the organization (Hollandsworth, 2004). According to the latter, Communication is essential for effective interaction with one’s supervisors, colleagues, subordinates, as well as the followers that one is leading. In addition, conflicts in leadership and management are inevitable. Although conflicts are problems it is the way they are handled when they strike that determines their effects on the organization or interpersonal relationships. In fact it can bring the warring parties together or tear them further apart. To ensure that the best come out of a conflict effective communication skills are essential for both parties.
According to Hart (1997) management and leadership competence is achieved only if competent communication abilities exist in all the parties involved. Furthermore an individual’s day-to-day life is often faced with communication needs. As observed by Hart (1997) communication is a fundamental activity in life and happens both consciously and without one’s knowledge. As a result, every person needs to be equipped with excellent communication skills if at all he or she is to lead a good life through enhanced relationships with those he or she interacts with on day to day basis.
Communicating effectively as a leader is not only required, it is expected for leading others. However, majority of those in leadership have not been able to achieve efficiency in communications due to the self-created communication inadequacies. First, their modes of relating with those who they lead or manage have on many occasions been halted by their tendency of not paying attention to their ideas and opinions. In addition, the leaders and managers have topped a great extent failed to embrace modern management styles that incorporate the best management communication models. Via extensive review of available literature, this paper seeks to identify ways through which an individual can develop appropriate intrapersonal and interpersonal communication skills not only to enhance managerial effectiveness but also to make life worth living by enhancing the best personal communication etiquette (Hoar, 2005).
Improving one communication skills for effective leadership and management
In most cases Leaders and managers who have been able to realize the importance that competence in communication plays in determining success in leadership have been at the forefront to develop and strengthen their communication skills. In order to achieve these, the latter have to adhere to the very fundamental principles which seek to promote the best organizational relations through establishment and maintenance of close, compassionate and mutual relationships with the rest of the organization members. The purpose of this paper therefore is to diagnose the tips which leaders and managers can use to improve their communication expertise in order to be successful in leading others. Interest in developing one’s communications skills is then basic step towards achieving success in leadership or management. the initiative intrigues challenges in an individual to better himself; as well as aiding him or her to identify his or her communication strengths. Such SWOT analyses are extremely essential since the individual will build on his or her strength and improve on the weakness to achieve maximum competency in communication.
In addition continued self-evaluation helps the individual to continually improve well know aspects of his or her communication skills thus helping the individual improve the quality of his communication ability both for management success and also his or her personal life(Ellis, 2002). It is important to note that although some aspects of competence in communication are born to an individual, majority of these skills can be acquired through learning if only the individual’s concern develops deep interest in improving their communication skillfulness and fully commit themselves to it can thus be achieved in the following ways.
Learning to effectively communicate your thoughts or ideas
Effectiveness in communication is determined by the ability of the communicator to put across his or her ideas to the audience in the best way possible such that his or her message is understood in a rather comprehensible and definite way possible. In addition, the communicator must be able to put across the message to the receiver with the least alterations whatsoever so that the message that he or she intended to put across remains intact throughout the communication process. Although many factors can influence the communication process thus determining its success or failure, it is the ability of the sender to communicate effectively that is the key determinant of this success. First he must, get the involvement of the recipient to make him or her part of the communication process so that he ensures that the message is delivered to the sender and successfully decoded by the latter to get the intended message. In addition, he should be able to obtain the intended feedback so that the communication can be termed as effective.
In cases where poor communication skills prevail in the process, message conveyance will be faulted, messed up by the sender and probably misunderstood by the recipient, thus making the whole process a failure i.e. will not achieve the intended objectives(Hudak, et al., 2002). In fact, success in communication is achieved when all parties in the communication process are able to derive the same meaning from the message at the conclusion of the communication process. It is important to note that a failed communication means the communicator efforts will be a total waste of time and could block the achievement of the individual leader’s or manager’s achievement of both personal and business goals
In a recent survey that was carried out by recruiting firms, which focused on organizations with more than fifty thousand employees it was reported that excellent and effective communication skills were a key factor that the employers look for when employing managers to the organizations. The study that was carried out by the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Business School, found out that excellent communication skills both oral and writing such skills were key determinants of managerial success in most organizations. In addition those managers, who had good communication skills were particularly able to relate and work with others hence, were more successful managers. According to Hudak, et al., (2002), many individuals have limited ability to put across their ideas effectively while others continue to fight with communication skills inadequacies irrespective of the great role that such skills have in their career as well their day to day life. In fact, managers who are devoid of effective c communication skills often find themselves in compromising competitive positions at the workplace. As a result, effectiveness in communication is of paramount importance to individuals who want to impr9ove on their careers as well as seeking managerial/leadership success (Hart, 1997).
To achieve this, the communicator needs to well know the message which he or she intends to communicate and ascertain clear goals that the communication intends to achieve. In addition he or she must be aware of the intended recipient of the message and the possible perception that the audience is likely to give to the message. In addition, the communicator must learn to put into consideration all the other factors that may affect the communication process and put appropriate measures to avert any negative effect on the communication success e.g. cultural factors (Hudak, et al., 2002).
Learn how to do away with barriers
In order for the message to be put across to the recipient successfully the various barriers to communication must be done away with in each ad every stage of the communication process. First the message should be clear error-free concise and organized so as to message avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding on the part of the audience. In addition, the communicator should avoid use of suggestive body and verbal language that may bring about misunderstanding of the message (Hart, 1997). Although the recipient may at times contribute to the barriers, the greater responsibility lies on the part of the sender to make sure that his message is barriers free and come out with effective ways of dealing with the barriers that may exist on the part of the recipient (Glasscoe, 2003).
Making the first impression
This is essential if you’re going to have the chance to communicate your message effectively and efficiently. According to Ellis (2002), it doesn’t take long for a person to assess and understand you when you meet him or her for the first time. Within this short duration an individual can be able develop an opinion about you depending on your body gestures, physical appearance, your behavior, your characteristics as well the dressing style. It is important to note that the first opinion that the other person forms about you is almost irreversible and most certainly shapes the resultant relations that follow between the parties involved. As a result it is important for an individual to learn and actually behave in a manner that creates the best first impression whether it is in a business or a social set up so as to enhance success in communication.
The following are ways in which one can behave to make a good first impression for communication efficiency you should be relaxed and present yourself to the audience like somebody who is confident and at ease. In fact, the audience perceives you as being uneasy and unconfident they are also likely to be uncomfortable listening to you and has the potential of creating a wrong impression on their part which in turn affects the effectiveness of the communication process. On the other hand if the communicator is confident and composed the audience will be at ease to listen to him or she thus has the potential to create the best first impression and success in putting his or her ideas and thought through to the audience (Glasscoe, 2003).
In addition, ability of an individual to present himself or herself correctly to the audience is a suitable recipe for deriving a good first impression from them. To achieve this it is important to note that one outlook or rather corporeal appearance is key. If it is a debut meeting between the communicator and the audience, for instance, the audience has limited knowledge of the communicator hence the audience will certainly use the physical appearance to judge the nature of him or her. As a result good physical appearance is imperative for creating a good first impression to the audience and a fundamental to communication success. However, this doesn’t mean that you appear to the audience in an exaggerated way in order to create a strong and positive first impression. Indeed secret to creating a good impression is to present yourself appropriately. In order to achieve this appropriate dressing is inevitable. In fact one should ensure that his or her personal preparedness is at its best. According to Ellis, (2002) appropriate dressing and preparedness facilitate in creating a suitable first notion and also aid communicator/ speaker to feel at ease, cool and secure.
Listening skills for effective communication
Effective communication and effective listening go hand in hand. For an individual to be an effective listener, he or she must be able to listen to his or her audiences and understand their point and ideas in the best way possible. One cannot be a good communicator if he or she is not a good listener. While developing his communication skills therefore, one will also need to learn good listening skills (Glasscoe, 2003). according to the latter, a communicator who is effective actively listens to the audience’s point of view, pays keen attention when they have something to put across just like he or she would expect them to ;listen to him or her. Keen interests need to be put on the audience when one is communicating and be sure to maintain visual contact in the latter does not make the audience uneasy since this would halt the communication effectiveness. The communicator should be keen to note the audience’s gesture-oriented reactions so as to timely deduce the non-verbal messages signals from them and take appropriate actions. The communicator should also Nod to indicate when you are in a position to hear. Indeed listening skills on the part of the speaker will enable the audience to recognize you as a person who values them (Hart, 1997).
Improving your speaking skills
In order For one to be an effective communicator, he or she should learn to speak in a way that your audience understands his or her message in the clearest way possible. Excellent speaking skills are not inborn to an individual but can also be formally and informally acquired through learning. In fact, they need to be learned, practiced, and constantly appraised to identify potential areas of improvement. The presenter must improve their speaking skills for direct interactions, speaking at meetings, making presentations to an audience as well as communicating to subordinates. First, he or she has to learn how to effectively prepare your communication. An individual should start by asking himself or her about the main idea he or she intends to put across to the audience. Indeed one should have clear objectives that the message is intended to achieve. In addition he or she should clearly organize the message, maintain it short and in a free-flowing language that can easily be understood by the audience (recipient) (Glasscoe, 2003).
In addition, he or she should learn how to incorporate other aiding ideas and systematize them to be consistent with the main message without altering the original meaning. The speaker especially in a presentation needs to take breaks within his or her presentation and expressly request for the audience’s reactions to make them part of the communication and ensures that they understand the message that one is trying to put across. Furthermore, the communicator should learn to put across or idea or thought one at a time and in a systematic way as presented in the plan to avoid confusion in the process and to ensure that the conversation remains focused (Hart, 1997). In addition effective speaking will be realized if the communicator is communicative, convincing speak in a warm manner and with the greatest level of enthusiasm. Moreover, one should be in a position to determine areas for improvement and take appropriate measures to improve his deficiencies in communication and presentation skills (Glasscoe, 2003)
Effective communication also goes hand in hand with the ability of the communicator to ask and respond to the questions from the audience. One should take time to plan for the answer to a specific question, ask clear questions and in situations where one does not know the right answer admit lack of knowledge to the question and avoid evading the question or making up an answer that you are not sure whether it is correct or not(Hart, 1997)
Use simple and free-flowing language
Effective communication is embedded in the ability of the ease with which the message is successively decoded by the audience for clear understanding. To achieve this one has got to avoid using unnecessary Jargon or vocabulary that is difficult for the audience to understand. Every line of work, party and specific faction has some exceptional Jargons that it uses to affect communication among its members (Hart, 1997). Although Jargons may be beneficial to the group the latter will serves no purpose in situations where they are not understood by the intended audience since no communication will be taking place. Jargon is not effective however if your intended audience doesn’t understand it. Some people use jargon without their knowledge or purpose to do so, while others use them to express their expertise or prowess in the subject, unknown to them that it may be counterproductive to the communication efficiency if the audience does not understand the intended message.
In some situations communicators tend to use Jargon in place of suitable and comprehensible terminologies and specialized jargon, with an objective of impressing their addressees. Unfortunately, the impression he or she gives maybe a negative one, rather than the one intended (Garvin & Roberto, 2005). It is important for the communicator to realize that jargon has the greatest potential to halt the effectiveness of communication if it cannot be well understood by the audience (Hart, 1997). As a result one should learn to avoid unnecessary Jargon and use free following language that can have the message put across to the audience and intended message decoded without much ado.
My short term plan to improve my communication skills
Having realized the importance of effectiveness in communication, I am fully committed to improving my communication skills and achieve maximum communication effectiveness by the end of this course. To achieve, I have put in place a workable short-term plan to continually improve my communication skills. First, I plan to make use of the current class discussion group to hone my public speaking and presentation skills. Under this arrangement the members have agreed to hold a debate two times a week in which each of the six members will have a chance to present to the group, be evaluated and recorded to identify his or her weaknesses and strengths in public speaking. In addition, I plan to hire a communication coach/mentor at the end of the semester to take me through effective communication tuition and aid in my personal communication practice to further coagulate these gains, I will organize series of presentations to make to my discussion group once the lecture resumes after summer. I am optimistic that successful implementation of this plan will help me develop excellent communication skills.
The communication improvement plan suggests that the enhancement of interpersonal communication skills development begins with a leader’s self-awareness of how he or she relates to others, and their desire to maintain quality relationships within the organization. The paper underscores the importance of relationships, and the ability to work and communicate with others. It also highlights that becoming a great communicator is a choice that leaders can make to positively build his or her connection and influence with others. This paper also shows my commitment to enhancing my communication skills and presents my short-term course of action to achieve this objective.
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