Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trends in Business Communication

A critical aspect in business communication is to understand how to communicate effectively to other people within a business organization. The end result is not something tangible but a service or information needed to get the job done. The key elements to analyze the role and trends business communication plays in day-to-day activities in the workplace are the types of messages used in communication. This is based on a mix of current technology with previous ways of communicating. The two types of communication used in the workplace are verbal and nonverbal methods of managing daily work activities.
Verbal Communication 
Verbal means of communication in the workplace are by various means. In every position, I have worked with verbal communication in e-mails, telephone, face-to-face, meetings, web conferencing, teleconferencing, communicating telephonically, presentations, and letters. Traditional typed memos are a style not seen much in the workplace anymore and are becoming something quite archaic because of the advances in technology. Older forms of communication such as facsimile and the corporate mail room are being replaced with modern technology using e-mail, blogs, and the Internet or other web-based service.
Communication of results is a collection or pool of knowledge within the area of personal discipline and those with whom I am communicating. One area in particular is how important communication with management is and how it affects a personal outcome with regard to promotions and pay increases. I have found that management in actuality does not pay attention to the details of what an employee does especially in the worst situations, such as working with a micro-manager. When an employee communicates effectively to the boss what they have accomplished, it creates a better relationship between employee and manager. Studies have shown that employee pay increases improve when management is made aware of project timeline completion and accomplishments.
Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal means of communication are areas of body language and visual perceptions of company images. Some forms of interpersonal nonverbal communication are making people wait before a meeting starts or delaying to talk to a visitor (e.g., interview applicant or visitor to the company). Being on the receiving end of negative nonverbal communication can cause employees to have lowered morale and creates unnecessary tense situations at work. For an interview applicant, this can give a tarnished image of the company and perhaps push the prospective employee away from wanting to work there. I have seen that to climb the corporate ladder interpersonal communication is vital in the workplace. Showing an interest in people within the organization shows a person’s willingness to grow and maintain respect for those around them.

Developing written formal abilities, listening to people, and speaking helps to grow personally and learn about the company’s culture and values. Networking within the organization reduces limitations to grow professionally. My skills of communication were developed as a technique to survival. I found myself needing to defend my work, my position, whatever was required to management. The term CYA became a part of my verbal and nonverbal framework. That came from working in corporate cultures with management personalities who created an atmosphere of distrust. The employees believe they have to do what it takes to cover them so they do not lose their jobs. By keeping correspondence, corporate policies, notes on meetings, objectives in job responsibilities, and project timelines an employee can use that as a means to protect themselves if questioned on work production.
Communication from management to staff is important to develop the right kind of leadership style. By having worked for several types of managers, three basic types stand out on what I have encountered the most in the workplace:
·         Autocratic leadership
·         Hands-off leadership
·         Democratic leadership

Autocratic leadership
The autocratic leadership has been a negative inhibition of growth in every work environment I have been involved in. Every manager who displays this type of leadership has shown he or she does not trust employees, micro manage to the point of driving people nuts, do not allow for employee input, and use threats and punishment to influence employees. My previous manager displayed this type of style and the result was feeling tense, fearful, and resentful. Studies have shown that Gen X and Y employees are highly resistant to an autocratic leadership style due to these reasons. Even though this type of leadership is considered a classical approach to treat employees, it is not practical in today’s marketplace. It borderlines bullying behavior and is not a proactive way to communicate both verbally and non-verbally to employees.
 
Hands-off leadership 
The hands-off style is another ineffective tool of communication with people. Too many lazy managers who do not belong in management adopt this style. They do not have to be involved with people, tend to have very poor communication skills, and depend on the employees under them to cover for their terrible lack of management or production of work. Employees tend to think they are in thankless jobs and do not receive regular feedback on how they are performing. In certain situations the hands-off manager can work but based on personal experience, this type of management is highly ineffective because of management slipping into an indolent attitude among his or her staff.

Democratic leadership
          The democratic leadership is more effective because it is goal and growth oriented. The communication involves more teamwork and participation. Team building is encouraged and problem-solving skills are enhanced. It is a more collaborative and integrated work environment. The types of communication establish solid interpersonal skills and written communication is clear, concise, and promotes good will. 
             Business communication plays an important role in day-to-day work. Without communication there would be limitations on what role a person has within a company. The follow-up on job and project completion can slip by important deadlines. In jobs that are deadline driven, such as accountants meeting an April 15th tax deadline or a pharmaceutical research company filing their new drug application by a certain date are example of companies in which communication is critical. To manage daily workloads requires initiative and proactive involvement. We are past the age of factory style office work. People are trained to multi-task and wear many hats in the corporate world. To accomplish success and continue to climb the corporate ladder,using all forms of communication available is necessary but also within the policies of the companies in which one works.

References
Locker, K., & Kienzler, D. (2008). Business and administrative communications (8th ed.).  New York: McGraw-Hill. 
 Types of Leadership Styles. (2009). Legacee Management Systems, Inc.  Retrieved December 12, 2009 from http://www.legacee.com/Info/Leadership/LeadershipStyles.html



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