Communication And Interpersonal Skills Business Essay

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2.0 INTRODUCTION TO MANAGEMENT

Present since the dawn of civilization, management can be briefly defined as getting the work done with the least possible errors, through other people with the intention of achieving the targets. Different definitions of management have been given by eminent personalities, which are:

Management refers to the process of getting activities completed efficiently, with and through other people. (Stephen Robbins)

Management is the art of getting things done through other people. (Mary Parker Follett)

Although defined by many in numerous ways, management is all about planning, leading, organizing and controlling. In order to properly manage a particular task, it is also important to effectively and efficiently use the available resources.

Nevertheless, in the 21st century it has been noticed that the different management skills are also of utmost importance for the success of an organization. The three basic types of skills identified by Robert Katz (1970), which make up effective management, are technical, human and conceptual skills.

In addition, with the new types of organizations and the new ways of doing business that are taking place in our current era, new trends, ideas, skills and techniques are equally essential. All of which are the result of Management Competencies, that is the combination of skills, behavior and requirements necessary to accomplish a particular task at its best.

2.1 COMPETENCIES

According to Andrew May (1999), "Management competencies are used to build a framework for analyzing the resources available to achieve business strategies and forecast areas of control risk, a key factor in business continuity planning".

The different management competencies that are very important in today's business environment are interpersonal communication skills, leadership and emotional intelligence.

2.1.1. Communication and Interpersonal skills

With the aim of achieving success in a particular business, good communication skills are required, regardless of the size of the organization. Communication and interpersonal skills incorporate the following:

Planning and structuring,

Communicating in person and writing,

Feedback,

Presentations,

Negotiations, persuasion and influence, and

Better understanding others.

Communication, defined as the transmission of a message whether verbally or non-verbally from one person to another, occupies an essential position in the work field just as in all other areas of life. Very often, communication is related to interpersonal skills which are the life skills we use daily to interact with other people and in groups.

Consequently, known as the Interpersonal Communication Skills, this concept which was firstly introduced in the 1950s has been defined as the ability to work well with people and involve your acceptance of others without any discrimination (Berko et al., 1998/1378: 58). In other words, people exchange thoughts, information and meanings through verbal and non-verbal messages through this method. According to Avkiran (2000), Interpersonal Communication Skills are the ability to act in response to the staff's requirements positively, while developing a non-discriminatory work environment where the staffs are capable of developing their full personal potentials.

Interpersonal communication can be applied to:

Provide and accumulate information,

Manipulate the thoughts and behaviors of others,

Build and preserve relationships,

Make sense of the world and our experiences in it,

Convey personal needs and recognize the requirements of others,

Offer and obtain emotional support,

Create decisions and resolve problems,

Foresee behavior, and

Regulate power.

It has been noted in many different organizations that though the traditional skills like written and verbal communication, are still important, increasing emphasis is being placed on the capacity to create and nurture partnerships, to develop innovative new programs and to market the products and services that the organization is offering.

According to Meyer et al. (1990), the organizational commitment concept which is multidimensional in nature have included three conceptualizations, namely the affective commitment (attachment or recognition), normative commitment (responsibility or obligation to norms) and continuance commitment (sacrifice and investment that increases an individual's cost of leaving). Consequently it can be assumed that organizational commitment is made up of these three components.

2.1.2. Leadership

With the purpose of maximizing efficiency and to achieve organizational goals, leadership has always been an important function of management. For Horner (1997), leadership has been defined as the traits, qualities and behaviors of a leader. In short, leadership is mostly concerned with motivation, initiating actions, creating confidence, providing guidance, building morale and work environment as well as co-ordination, in other words a person's skills, abilities and degree of manipulation to get people moving in a direction, making decisions and do things that normally they would not have chosen to do.

It is a known fact that the starting point in understanding responsible business behavior and the different competencies of management remains the leadership, especially relating to the personal attitudes and viewpoints.

2.1.2.1 Theories of Leadership

In the past, leadership theories focused more the distinguished qualities of the leaders and followers whereas subsequent theories are paying more attention to variables such as skill levels and situational factors. The theories of leadership can be categorized as follows, in spite of the diverse leadership theories that have come into view:

TRADITIONAL THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP

"Great Man" Theories which presumes that the capability for leadership is innate (great leaders are born, not made). Great leaders are often represented as valiant and mythic, ordained to ascend to leadership when needed through these assumptions.

Trait Theories presume that people receive certain traits and qualities making them better suited to leadership and thus often categorize certain behavioral or personality characteristics shared by leaders.

Contingency Theories that might verify which particular approach of leadership is best suitable for the situation focuses on particular variables related to the environment and therefore look upon the fact that the leadership style is not same in all situations.

Situational Theories recommends that based upon situational variables leaders opt the best course of action that is the most appropriate and effective styles of leadership for decision-making of certain categories.

Based upon the idea that great leaders are made, not born, the Behavioral Theories of leadership, which is entrenched in behaviorism, does not focus on the internal states or mental qualities but on the actions of leaders and as such people can be taught through coaching and observation to develop into leaders.

Participative Theories suggest that the best leadership style is one that takes the participation of others into account. Participation and contributions from group members are encouraged by these leaders with the aim of helping group members feel more important and committed to the decision-making process.

CONTEMPORARY THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP

Also known as transactional theories, the Management Theories focus on the function of organization, control and group performance and is based on a system of rewards and punishments. According to Burns (1978), transactional leadership originates from more traditional views of workers and organizations, emphasizing the leader's position of power to use followers for task completion.

Relationship Theories also called transformational theories focus upon the associations created among leaders and followers. Transformational leaders inspire and encourage people by helping group members see the significance and superiority of the task. Focused on the performance of group members these leaders in addition wish for each individual to accomplish his or her potential.

2.1.2.2 Management and Leadership

Management and Leadership have been used interchangeably, as they are two thinking describing two different perceptions. Managers relate to goals and objectives in an impersonal manner while being primarily concerned with developing plans and budget, organizing direction, co-coordinating and controlling resources whereas leaders have a high sense of active and personal involvement thus capable of influencing others.

Quick and Nelson (1997) have stated that "Whereas leaders agitate for change and new approaches, managers advocate stability and status quo" and have also affirmed that though management and leadership are two different systems, they are also complementary wherein 'Leadership is a sub-set of good management'.

Many people believe that leadership is about positioning a new direction for a group to follow while management directs resources or people in a group according to the established values and principles. With the purpose of better understanding leadership and management, one must consider what happens when you have one with or without the other, that is:

Leadership without management  sets a vision or direction that others follow, without taking into consideration the method through which the new direction is going to be accomplished.

Management without leadership  organizes resources to preserve the status quo or else make sure things take place according to already-established strategies.

Combination of leadership and management  does both - it both sets a fresh path and handles the resources to achieve it. For example a recently elected prime-minister or president.

Consequently, leadership is concerning the setting of a new direction for a group whereas management is about controlling and directing according to the established principles.

2.1.2.3 Qualities, Skills and Styles of Leadership

Leadership qualities are normally assumed to be context-dependent since they show a discrepancy in the different companies, teams and situations. The perfect scenario in theory is for a leader to have unlimited flexibility that is being able to adapt the leadership style according to the situation. However, modern leadership theory has begun to realize that the ideal, flexible leader does not exist as everyone has both strengths and weaknesses and consequently there is a need to make an adjustment while trying to meet the needs of the situation

2.1.3. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is described as the ability to recognize and understand one's own feelings and emotions as well as those of others and use that information to manage emotions and relationships. It has been noted that people with high EI are usually successful in most of their tasks especially because of their nature to make others feel good.

EI is a unique fundamental element of one's behavior, which can be improved with practice. Used for the first time in 1985 by Wayne Payne, in his doctoral thesis entitled 'A study of emotion: developing emotional intelligence; self-integration; relating to fear, pain and desire', emotional intelligence is mostly concerned with perceiving, understanding, reasoning with and managing emotions. Back in the 1990's, when EI first acquired noteworthy media attention, for many people it was regarded as the explanation for a remarkable discovery.

Many studies have confirmed that this relatively new intelligence was significant to the survival of organizations in this new world economy (Bloomsbury, Cherniss & Goleman). The US secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills published a report referring to the important presence of this "soft skill" at the workplace. In order to achieve a high performance at work, according to this report along with good literacy and computational skills workers should also outshine in personal qualities such as self-esteem, responsibility, sociability or honesty (Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, 1991).

The key areas for EI in management competencies are:

Reading people  Interacting, presenting, supporting and cooperation

Using emotions  Leading, deciding, creating and conceptualizing

Understanding emotions  Organizing, executing, analyzing and interpreting

Managing emotions  Adapting, coping, enterprising and performing

2.1.3.1 Emotional Intelligence Skills

There are four core emotional intelligence skills, grouped under two primary competencies, namely personal competence and social competence.

Figure 1: Core emotional skills

Self-Awareness  is about how exactly emotions can be identified in the moment and understands the tendencies across time and situation.

Self-Management  describes how the awareness of one's emotions is used to create the behavior one wants.

Social Awareness  explains the degree to which the emotions of other people are understood.

Relationship Management  gives details on how the previously mentioned skills are used to handle the interactions with other people.

According to Dr Singh (2003), EI is the "capability of a person to properly and effectively respond to a huge variety of emotional stimuli being drawn out from the inner-self and immediate surroundings while comprising three psychological dimensions - emotional competency, emotional maturity and emotional sensitivity - which motivates an individual to recognize, interpret and handle diplomatically the dynamics of human behavior". For Sterrett (2003), EI refers to a series of personal, managerial and social skills needed so as to help an individual succeed at the workplace and in life on the whole. It encompasses competencies such as character, intuition, integrity and good communication and interpersonal skills.

2.1.3.2 Emotional Intelligence Models

The creator of the field of EI stimulates huge discussion and due to the fact that EI is a young and ever growing field one has to keep an open mind on this topic while being willing to recognize the qualities of each of the models, and apply what them more effectively. So far, the three EI models that have been proposed are:

2.1.3.2.1 The Ability Model (Mayer and Salovey, 1997)

The Ability Model of Mayer and Salovey (1997) defines EI as the 'intelligence' in the traditional sense, that is, a set of mental abilities to do with emotions and also the processing of emotional information which are component of and contribute to reasonable thought and intelligence in general. Such mental abilities are arranged hierarchically from the basic psychological processes to more psychologically integrated and complex practices which can be developed through age and experience.

This Ability Model also depicts that the emotionally intelligent individuals are more likely to:

Have grown up in bio-socially adaptive households (with more emotionally sensitive parents),

Be non-defensive,

Be able to reframe emotions effectively,

Choose good emotional role models,

Be able to communicate and discuss feelings,

Develop expert knowledge in particular emotional areas, such as aesthetics and social problem solving.

2.1.3.2.2 The Competency-Based Model (Goleman, 2001)

This model of EI by Goleman (2001) has been planned purposely for workplace applications (Gardner & Stough, 2002). Based on the theory of performance, it involves twenty competencies which help to distinguish individual differences in workplace performance. Clustered into four different general abilities, these competencies are:

Self Awareness  Ability to recognize feelings and precise self-assessment,

Self Management  Capability to handle internal states, desires and resources,

Social Awareness  Ability to read people and groups' emotions accurately,

Relationship Management  Ability to induce desirable responses in others.

Figure 2: Competency-Based Model

2.1.3.2.3 The Non-Cognitive Model (Bar-On, 1997)

In this model, EI is defined as "an array of non-cognitive capabilities, skills and competencies that manipulate one's ability to be successful in dealing with environmental demands and pressures". This model consists of fifteen conceptual components that pertain to five specific dimensions which are as follows:

Intra-personal skills  capabilities, competencies and expertise pertaining to the inner self,

Inter-personal skills,

Adaptability  how one can successfully manage environmental demands by successfully evaluating and dealing with challenging situations,

Stress management  the ability to cope and manage stress effectively,

General mood  the ability to enjoy life and maintain a positive disposition.

Figure 3: Bar-on model of Emotional Intelligence

2.1.3.3 Emotional Intelligence importance

It has been found that employee behaviors which is focused on the fulfillment of customers' needs and desires, by mediating a positive climate for services within the organization, will lead to an increase in customer satisfaction levels and consequently to increases in profitability (Keiningham and Vaura, 2001; Olivier, 1996).

2.2 CHALLENGES

Changes in today's organization's environment have been provoked by a variety of driving forces from both internal and external surroundings. These driving forces are elaborated below.

2.2.1. Information challenges

The use of information technology is highly important to enhance the whole of any organization and up to now the focus has been largely on the collection, transmission and storage of data. But currently, with the new information revolutions the focus is shifting towards the meaning and purpose of information since it is a known fact that unless organized in meaningful patterns, data is not information. The main task therefore is defining information, creating new ideas and generating latest examples that will help redefine the tasks to be done as well as the different institutions that perform these duties.

The challenges are:

2.2.1.1 Exploding digital universe

The rate of information growth is increasing rapidly. According to the Digital Universe study (2011), "Extracting value from chaos", this expansion of information and 'big data' are changing all characteristics of business and society. In order to make sure that there is a high availability of information and to provide more up-to-date function, there has been duplication of data. This replication has enormously contributed to the expansion of information growth.

Every two years the world's information is doubling and it is assumed that by 2020 the world will make 50 times the amount of information and there will be 1.5 times less IT staff to handle it. New "information taming" technologies such as de-duplication, compression, and analysis tools are lessening the cost of creating, managing, capturing, and accumulating information to one-sixth the bill in 2011 in contrast to 2005. The International Data Corporation (IDC) is investigating the opportunities and development joined to control and take advantage of this unstable expansion of information (www.emc.com).

2.2.1.2 Varying significance of information

Essential to communication, information is a critical resource for performing work in organizations. The importance of information changes regularly. Consequently information that is valuable at present might turn out to be less important tomorrow, according to the needs and requirements of the job. The main reason that information is of such importance to organizations and individuals is that it drives communication, decision making, and reactions to the environment.

2.2.1.3 Increasing dependency on information

The strategic use of information plays an important role in determining the success of a business and provides competitive advantages in the marketplace. In this competitive world of ours, there is a must to have the right information at the right time to be able to make decisions. Failure to which might eventually result in making huge loss by the organization. Information helps managers to not only create mission, vision and set goals but also facilitate them in analyzing the environment and viewing different strategic alternatives so as to counteract moves or even providing better products and services than the competitors.

2.2.1.4 Diversity and Globalization

Diversity is a very sensitive subject and it can be harmful to an organization if it is not handled properly. It is imperative for any organization to properly implement programmes for diversity management due to globalization of industry and the pursuit of effective competition, since globalization mixes both economics and societies all over the world. In this modern moment, where people have divergent views on globalization, its effect on diversity is very important.

2.2.1.5 Telecommuting

Margaret Tan-Solano (2001) defined Telecommuting as "the practice of an employee performing his normal office duties from a remote location". With the arrival of telecommuting, several benefits have been achieved, namely more time to focus on work, as location is no more a constraint, flexible work schedules and increased productivity. It also allows closer proximity to and involvement with family, employee freedom, improves productivity as well as promoting safety.

2.2.2. Strategy - The new certainties

Strategies are very important since these are the set of decision making procedures for the guidance of organizational behavior. According to managers, strategy means their outsized scale, future oriented procedures with the competitive surroundings to optimize accomplishment of organization aims. An influential weapon for surviving with the conditions of change, which surround an organization today, a strategy is quite complex and costly to implement. In accordance with Drucker, strategies must be regarded as the following five new convictions that rather than being economic, are more political and social. 

2.2.2.1 Defining Performance

Performance can be briefly defined as the production of valid results given over a period of time. Very often it is measured against certain predetermined known standards of completeness, accuracy and speed.

2.2.2.2 Global competitiveness

Used to describe the international market, global competitiveness often refers to the struggle of different organizations to prevail over the other on a worldwide basis. In this world of competition, it is a known fact that unless an organization measures up to the standards set by the leaders in its field, it cannot expect to survive for long.

2.2.2.3 The increasing incongruence between economic globalization and political breakage

Nowadays, businesses have to define their scope in terms of industries and services worldwide. While the national boundaries are creating certain types of obstructions, the political boundaries are also not moving. It has been noted that the national politics are still ruling against economic rationality within transnational economic organizations.

2.2.3. Management's New Paradigm

Today's leaders and managers must deal with continual, rapid change and therefore management techniques must track the business environment continuously, to assess change and adapt. Managing change does not mean controlling it, but rather understanding it, being more sensitive and flexible, and guiding it as much as possible. According to the old paradigms, management was about dominance and control, centralized and hierarchical with rigid budgets, short-term solutions and top-down goal setting. However under the new management's paradigm in most organizations the focus is more on cooperation and trust with continuous adaptation and long range optimization as well as teamwork and jobs selected to fit people rather than people selected to fit jobs.

In today's fast changing world, management are forced to apply and adapt to certain new standards of management due to the driving forces in order to be more flexible, responsive and adaptable to the demands and expectations of the stakeholder's demands. Nowadays, managers can no longer refer to an earlier developed plan for direction since they must continuously deal with rapid change.

In the 21st century, with the intention of being successful most organization can also strive to move from competition to networking. Competition has been progressive and successful as it literally changed the economic landscape of the world into modern industrial centers with the defining edge of technology. It is important to redefine competition now with the concept of networking and cooperation for the sustainability of business operations worldwide.

2.2.4. The change leader

Presently change is the norm and unless perceived as the duty of the organization to guide change, the organization will not exist for long. In a period of rapid structural modification, the only individuals who live on are the change leaders. The four requirements of change leadership according to Drucker (1999) are as follows.

Policies to create the future.

Organized methods to seek and to foresee change.

The precise approach to bring in modification, both inside and outside the organization.

Strategies to balance amendments and stability.

Change and continuity is seen as two extremities rather than mutually exclusive opposites by Drucker. It is essential to have internal and external continuity so as to be a change leader.

2.3 Conclusion

According to Boyatzis (2008), although the understanding of competencies themselves has been extended, perhaps the most important contributions in the last thirty years, has come about primarily in the last fifteen years.

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