Modeling Communication Skills in the Workplace

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  • 0:03 Communication Affects Outcomes
  • 2:15 Aspects of Successful…
  • 5:33 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

People who communicate well will become role models within an organization regardless of title. This lesson explores the characteristics associated with good communication skills that others will want to emulate.

Communication Affects Outcomes

If you've worked as a manager in virtually any industry for more than three days, you would be in the minority if you had not analyzed a problem in which a lack of good communication is not a major contributing factor. The absence of communication, or poor communication, plays a pivotal role in virtually any crisis. In many cases, these lapses are not intentional, but that does not make them any less harmful to the company. Leaders in the workplace, whether managers by title or not, are charismatic communicators who pay careful attention to the content of their message and the tools they use to disseminate that message.

In a true story that is half tragic and half funny, the consequences of poor communication stand out like a flashing neon sign. The story comes from a young human resources manager who was told on his first day that a particular employee named Amy was performing poorly at her job and needed to be terminated. The new HR manager did not ask for any further details, but anxious to demonstrate his worth to his new company, carried out the task as ordered.

He called Amy into his office; delivered an excellent, brief, and to the point termination script; and walked Amy off the property. Shortly thereafter, his supervisor came to discuss the event with him and inquired of him whether he thought his performance had been satisfactory. The new HR manager assured his supervisor that the meeting went quite well, and that the task had been taken care of with minimal drama.

With a puzzled expression on his face, the HR manager supervisor pointed out the glass door of the office to an employee working on the floor and asked, ''If terminating Amy went quite so well, why is she still here working?'' The new HR manager describes feeling his face flush and his heart race as he told his new boss that he had fired the wrong Amy. After some choice words from the boss, the right Amy was fired and the wrong Amy was un-fired!

Aspects of Successful Communication

Although communication from managers is extremely important, people who communicate well within a workplace become leaders regardless of title. This phenomena isn't restricted to good employees who use good communication to communicate good things. Great communicators with bad ideas also possess great influence because of their ability to identify with those around them.

Role Models Speak the Truth

Whether for good or for bad, there are some specific features in communication that place someone in the position of a role model. People who speak the truth skyrocket to the top of the role model list in short order, but speaking the truth is more than what we think of as honesty. Role models for good communication speak accurately.

Phrases like ''an honest mistake'' help us understand the difference between truth and honesty. An honest mistake is a figurative way of saying that an individual messed up but that their intentions were good. Role models for good communication are not merely individuals who refuse to lie. Rather, they are individuals who intentionally communicate the truth. When an individual is impeccable with their word, they rise to the level of a role model.

Speaking truth is an example of disseminating (broadcasting or circulating) information. In an organization, information can be disseminated by memos, face-to-face meetings, video conferences, email, and a host of other vehicles. People who serve as role models for good communications understand the strengths and limitations associated with each of these vehicles and carefully choose the right method for the right message.

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