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From the Oxford Dictionary, communication can be definite as the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. Communications are essential and the only way for human to interact and exchange the information towards others. Other than that, communication is the only source of information for the managers to assess and identify any errors for decision making purposes and through it managers can motivate their lower level employees by informing them what task to be done by them. Anonymous says, skill in the arts of communication is crucial to a leader's success. He can accomplish nothing unless he can communicate effectively. Hence, effective communication is needed in order to transmit the information without any error and miscommunication.
However, there are several barriers that interrupt the flow of communication from the sender to the receiver that affect the effectiveness of the communication. Among the barriers are, perceptual and language differences, information overload, gender differences, distraction or noise and emotion.
Perception is how a person interprets thing happen around him. Usually, each person will have their own perception that is differ from the other perception. A massage will possibly understand wrongly by the receiver which cause misunderstanding between the sender and the receiver or we can call it muddled massage. For example, if a manager ask the employees to compile the Current Audit File and Permanent Audit file properly, we might assume the manager wants us to compile the each year files in sequence to the year and the other person might think that the manager want them to do it according to the section in the files. Same goes to the language barrier, one word can have several meaning which can lead to communication breakdown where the information are not received properly and misunderstands the meaning of the information. Other than that, wrongly use of words can give different meaning that other than the exact information the sender tries to give to the receiver as a word will have different meaning in different sentences. Using the same example as above, we can see the word "properly" might being understand differently by other people. From the use of words can give different perception by someone, hence perceptual and language can be set as one barrier because of the connection between both of it.
Information overload can also be the barrier of effective communication. In such technology era, messages can be send and reach through countless ways everyday. It can be reach advertisement that we may see in public such as billboard advertisement and also listening television or radio advertisement. Other than public messages, personal or private message can also be reach through e-mail, memos, voice mails, telephone conversation, instant message or short message service (SMS), as well as direct conversation with colleagues, family and other friends. However, too many information received can cause information overload where number of message received and time to process and interact to information are exceeded capacity the time availability. Lets take this scenario as an example, when Ahmad is currently talking on the phone with the supplier to seek for the option to buy purchase stock from the supplier and at the same time receive an e-mail from the upper management regarding the issue with the supplier, while still talking on the phone he is scanning the text messages he receive from the other client to arrange the date to meet him. In this situation, how Ahmad will responds well to each message that he received and how effective the decision will be?
Taylor Bauer and Berrin Erdogan states in their book Organizational Behaviour version 1.0, "Men and women work together every day, but their different styles of communication can sometimes work against them" which leads to communication breakdown between these genders. The way women work, they like to ask questions before starting any of the projects in order to understands well about the related project. While men style, they tend to just start the work straight by asking fewer question than women does. Other than that, the insensitivity of male manager usually unaware the employees' willingness to work makes the manager thought that the employees are not prepare or ready to receive a new job from him. In addition, male managers frequently use sports metaphor in workplace makes women think that men are not serious in their work and always think of sports even in the office without realizing the fact of men behind the metaphor it shows men are very competitive and have the team work spirit inside them. For example, a man ask to his women colleague, "What time does the meeting kick off?", a women might not understand the question and think that her friend is still thinking of last night soccer match.
The other barrier of effective communication is distraction or noise occurs in between the message being send and receive. When there are distractions when we try to give message to the other person such as sound from the radio or phone ringing or other person try to talk to us, it can cause the sender and receiver of the message hard to give message and the receiver do not understand the message given. Besides that, physical distraction such as uncomfortable sit, hygienic issue in the room and technical problem in a meeting can lead to poor communication in the meeting because each person feels uncomfortable hence they could not give their full attention to any speeches which leads to do not receive much information regarding the agenda in the meeting.
Stabilization of emotion is one of the key factors to have an effective communication. When a person is emotionally unstable, it makes them can't process any information that she or he gets from the sender. As we know, to have an effective communication between two or more parties, it needs the sender and the receiver is open enough to give and receive the information although there are differences in their opinion or personality. For example, when the person has a personal problem with their spouse or family, they tend to act passive and do not responds towards people around them. In other situation, the manager receives many complaints from the client regarding their dissatisfaction about one of the employees' services. The manager will directly get anger to the related employees and probably advice the employees with a wrong way which can de-motivate the employee. According to Talya Bauer and Berrin Erdogan, "a receiver who is emotionally upset tends to ignore or distort what the sender is saying. A sender who is emotionally upset may be unable to present ideas or feelings effectively".
Overcoming communication barriers
In an organization, communication breakdown constantly occur because of those barriers that we have discussed earlier. It is essential for us, to deal with those barriers to ensure the smoothness of the conversation in the workplace. As we know, any problems will always have their solution on how to overcome it, therefore for the communication breakdown it also have the solution on how to overcome it. There are several ways to overcome the barriers, among the ways are by eliminating the differences in perception between the sender and the receiver, avoid the information from overload, by using the easiest way to communicate with people, avoid the premature evaluation, and reduce noise when communicating with others.
To avoid different perception among the all level employees and managers in the organization the upper level management must hire the right person to that suit to the position. They can choose the perfect applicant by making an interview that and set a list of characteristics that the applicants should have to fills the position such as do an essay writing test for the applicants to introduce themselves, their strengths and weaknesses in written. After that, test their confidence level and their knowledge generally and situation or cases related to the position that they applied for. For example, ask them on how they will react if their lower level employee does not want to listen to any of their order as they are the new supervisor or manager in the organization. After choosing the right applicant to the related position, the manager must give the new employee a proper introduction regarding the policies of the company so that they know what they should and should not do in the company. Then, proper training should be conducted for the new employees regarding their day-to-day task. Despite from choosing the right employee for the organization, perception from gender differences can be solved by changing the way we speak to different gender as to gain the best results from the communication. Generally, an understanding and respective leader that apply the rule of gender culture appropriately can lead to effective communication that makes the organization into success. Talya Bauer and Berrin Erdogan say, "As we have seen, differences in men's and women's communication styles can lead to misunderstandings in the workplace. Being aware of these differences, however, can be the first step in learning to work with them instead of around them. Keep in mind that men tend to focus more on competition, data, and orders in their communications, while women tend to focus more on cooperation, intuition, and requests. Both styles can be effective in the right situations, but understanding the differences is a first step in avoiding misunderstandings."
Second way to overcome those barriers is by avoid the manager from receiving too many information that can cause information overload. Setting priority to the work that has to be done by the manager so that the manager can focus on one work at one time and can achieve good results on the task. When the manager is trying to settle all tasks at a time, he or she will have to seek much information for the tasks which requires him or her to make a few calls and meet few people at a time that cause mixing up information. Other than that, the manager can also get to spend the quality time to discuss with their subordinates regarding the progress of the project and able to listen the problem faced in the project and give better opinion or feedback to the subordinates actively.
After avoiding the information overload barrier, the manager must know the easiest way on how to communicate to others especially to their subordinates. As a manager, we are advised to have a good relationship with all the subordinates that work with us because they are the one who can help the manager to finish the day-to-day task. Good relationship between the manager and employees should not only stay within the company but also outside the company. By having such a good relationship with the employees, the manager can further understand their subordinates. Other than that, it will also allows respect from the employees toward the manager because the subordinates feels that they are being appreciated, and when they felt that they are being appreciated by their manager, they will tend to fulfil their manager's request.
Face to face discussion will help the manager give and get information straight to and from the subordinates and used words that the subordinates can easily understands such as by giving them an explain with a simple example regarding their jobs and ask them if they can understood what has being explained to them. Furthermore, by having a face to face discussion with their subordinates, the manager can get a responds from their subordinates directly. Besides, the manager must also ensure that they used the appropriate channel in distributing the information to their employees. This is because if they used the wrong channel to distribute the information, the subordinate might that received the information correctly causing miscommunication between the manager and their subordinate.
In addition, premature evaluation from the manager must be avoid before it can ruins not just communication between managers and other staffs but also ruins the relationship between staff and manager. Before we can assume something or get anger on something after hearing complaints from the clients, other staff or upper level management, the manager must first investigate the factor that cause the problem to occur by trying to be in the situation so that the manager can detect the root of the problem and know the subordinates feeling if he or she just put all the blame to the subordinates after received complaints from clients. This can be done by doing survey and get feedback from their subordinate. Feedback is important because the manager can know what are the things that they should are be aware of when sending and distributing the information because different subordinates may require different type of channel.
Lastly, the other barrier of effective communication is distraction or noise occurs between the messages that are being sent and receive by the receiver. This barrier can be avoided or reduced by having a productive working environment that allows information to flow within the organization easily such as providing a more comfortable sit, ensure the hygienic issue are always being taken care every time it occurs. Other than that, there must be a clear process on how to send the information from the upper level management to the lower level subordinates. The upper level management or also the manager should ensure that the information is being distributed to the right subordinate so that any disturbance can be reduced and also to ensure that the subordinates will not get confused due to information overloaded. Thus, it is important to ensure what information should be given to the subordinate and ensure that the noise is being properly eliminated.
In a nut shell, communications are important for the manager to ensure that the information is correctly received by their subordinates or the receiver. Communication is the only way for human to interact and exchange the information towards others. In addition, communication is the only source of information for the managers to assess and identify any errors of decision making and through it managers can motivate their lower level employees by informing them what task to be done by them and how to do the task effectively. However, there are several barriers that interrupt the flow of communication from the sender to the receiver that will affect the effectiveness of the communication causing the receiver to received incorrect information or insufficient for them to perform their tasks. Among the barriers of communication are perceptual and language differences, information overload, gender differences, distraction or noise and emotion. There are several ways to overcome the barriers, among the ways to reduce or overcome the barriers of communications are by eliminating the differences in perception between the sender and the receiver, avoid the information from overload, by using the easiest way to communicate with people, avoid the premature evaluation, and reduce noise when communicating with others. Thus, it is important for the manager to ensure that the used the right channel to transfer the information to their subordinates so that the barriers of communication can be reduced or being eliminated.