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Stress can be defined as a threat, either real or imagined that has effects on homeostasis. It is used to describe events that are threatening to an individual and they tend to elicit various physiological and behavioral responses by the body. Every day we encounter stress as we go about the hassles of life; the body is usually used to dealing with these ordinary encounters. The stress response is meant to help the body overcome the challenges being perceived. This is called fight-flight reaction. However, if stress is prolonged, it stops being useful and begins to cause major damage to the health, moods, productivity, relationships, and the quality of life. Some common signs and symptoms of stress include poor decision-making, pessimism, excessive worrying, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, feeling lonely, depression, aches, and pains.
Severe and chronic stress has various effects on the individual's health and performance, which In turn affect the job performance. Stress affects many systems of the body; prolonged exposure to severe stress leads to health problems such as pains of any kind, cardiac disease, sleep disorders e.g. insomnia, nutritional disorders such as obesity and lack of appetite. Severe stress is also a contributing factor in development of depression, autoimmune diseases, and skin diseases such as eczema. It causes elevation of blood pressure, weakens the immunity, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, contributes to infertility, and accelerates the aging process. The combination of these conditions leads to chronic ill health and fatal complications in individuals with other conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Severe stress has a negative impact on the performance. The behavioral changes associated with stress account for this. There is social withdrawal, procrastination, or neglect of responsibilities, increased incidences of drug abuse, and undesirable habits such as pacing about, biting nails and neck pains. The increase in irritability and pessimism coupled to feeling of being run down and drained-both physically and emotionally result in a high risk of job burnout. This makes the individual to be less productive, and frustrations with the job slowly begin to creep in the workplace. It increasingly becomes difficult to handle work related pressure and the individual feels lonely and may eventually quit their jobs or get the sack.
How Nonverbal Communication can thwart Cross-Cultural Communication Effectiveness. Non-verbal communication is largely a product of culture. It includes various aspects such as facial signals, eye contact, tone of voice, body position and movement, and arrangements within groups. The proximity (distance) of the sender of the message and the recipient influences the interpretation of the message; this is because the opinion and use of space changes considerably across cultures and different settings within cultures. Proximity in nonverbal communication is classified into four main classes: intimate, social, personal, and public space. Various cultures define these differently; what is considered a custom by one culture may be a forbidden in another. The distance can make communication among diverse cultures difficult since the distance may be making the message sender, the recipient or both uncomfortable e.g. too close or too far.
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Expressions include the facial expressions usually shown motions and the position of the facial muscles. Their meaning by different people vary between cultures; indeed it gas proven that people from different cultures read and interpret facial expressions differently. Some cultures such as the Asian, they focus only on the eyes while others, like the west, look at the whole face in order to read the expression. Expressions that express one emotion in one culture may mean another different one in another and this misinterpretation may great hamper the communication in between multicultural individuals.
Orientation refers to posture; it is indicated by the direction of lean, arm position, body openness, and position. Orientation can help to know the participant's level of concentration or involvement, distinguish the status of the communicators, and determine the level of fondness the communicators have for each other. Various postures are understood differently in various cultures and hence this can be a potential barrier to effective communication in diverse cultural societies.
Contact usually used in communication are shaking hands, holding hands, kissing, back slapping, high fives and patting on the shoulder. Adapters, which refer to self-touching, are also important in revealing the intent or feelings of a communicator; they include licking, picking, holding, and scratching. These behaviors vary culturally and some may be offensive, and disrespectful in some. The message put across from contact and use of adapters is largely dependent on the perspective of the situation, the connection between the communicators, and the conduct of touch. Others may include extreme forms such as pushing, kicking, slapping, and hand-to-hand fights.
The eyes are used to show concentration, attention, and participation. Eye contact or lack of (aversion) indicates levels of interest and other actions such as winking and movement of the eyebrows are used to convey special messages. The regularity and meaning of eye contact shows a discrepancy in various cultures and species. Eye contact and gaze express important cultural and emotional information; usually these contacts are done unconsciously and often they are used to tell the mood signs.
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Voice and individual gestures may thwart effective cross-culture communication; some are culture specific and a gesture or voice tone can have a very diverse meaning in various cultural contexts, varying from kind to highly offensive. Voice also varies on quality, pitch, rhythm, and speaking style. In some cultures, some gestures and voice tones may not be used in communication between various classes of people.
Sources of a Leader's Power
Power refers to the capability to do or accomplish something. It usually vested in an individual or a group of people. This authority may be got in many ways, and the source is commonly used in classification of the type of power. Three types of sources of a leader's power are legitimate power, expert power and referent power. Legitimate power is also referred to as positional power. It is the power vested in an individual because they hold a certain position and perform the duties of that specified position within an organization. It is a formal authority entrusted to the holder of the position. It has various characteristic of power such as offices, responsibilities, titles, and uniforms. Legitimate power is the most common and important form of power.
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Expert power is an individual's power usually earned from the skilled ability to do something or expertise of the person. This is usually coupled to the society needs for those skills and expertise. This power is usually obtained through extensive training and experience and one is considered an expert in the field. It is largely specific and restricted to the particular area in which the expert is trained and qualified. Examples of expert power include doctors, lawyers, and dentists.
Referent power is the power or capability of individuals to draw admiration of others and build loyalty. It is based on the interpersonal skills, personality, and character of the power holder. The person under power identifies with these personal qualities, and derives contentment from being an accepted follower. Patriotism, loyalty, and nationalism are major driving forces towards referent power. Examples include the referent power of sports individuals for products endorsements as used by advertisers; that individual's admiration generates an opportunity for interpersonal influence.
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Levels at which Conflict can Occur in Organizations
Intrapersonal conflict occurs when there is a lack of compatibility, or there is no consistency among the individual's psychological elements. The person is struggling with competing desires and values, which are both attractive. In the organization, for instance, it can occur when a boss recommends two names of equally qualified and competent individuals for a promotion for the same position. Interpersonal conflict occurs when a person or various people frustrates, or attempts to frustrate, the objective realization efforts of the other group. There is a struggle between the two; this occurs due to interdependence of the parties arising from role ambiguity or conflict, as each endeavors to achieve their goals. In the organization, the main causes are incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party.
Mediation may be necessary to resolve disputes between the workers' union and management, for instance, due to contract disputes. One key competency of the mediator is impartiality. The mediators should remain neutral, as their role is to act as a catalyst to resolve the dispute. They should ensure that both parties have the drive to negotiate and settle the dispute; this is especially important because the end agreements are binding to both parties. Another role of the mediator is to ensure that both parties can communicate effectively with courage. Additionally, he ensures that force and coercion are not used. The mediator creates a level ground where both parties can actively engage in conflict resolution; thus, they should act without fear or favor. Lastly, the mediator must coordinate all the confrontation efforts in seeking to get a solution for the dispute. The methods of negotiation should be acceptable to both parties involved and should be open in order to build and maintain trust in the mediator.
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