The chapter discusses the various ways of communication within organizations, the directions of communication and the various effects of communication. It draws examples from the 2000/1 BT Global challenge race skippers and their teams. It looks at how communication in these teams influenced their performance. Most emphasis is placed on the purpose, means, direction and importance of communication in organizations. To explain these, the chapter uses a communication model that is segmented into two parts; the relationship dimension and the task dimension. In addition, the relationship between communication and emotional intelligence has also been dealt with.In a team or any form of organization, communication should be used to drive performance, inspire loyalty, commitment and support in the members. Through communication, a leader will either make or break his or her team. To realize the former, a leader should use his communicational abilities to create an environment in which members develop a feeling that they are valued through the respect they are accorded and the level of participation they are allowed.In the current world, there are several channels of communication to choose from. Globalization and advances in technology have seen the establishment of an e-world such that main forms of communication are by electronic means. These include the use of laptops to send and receive e-mails at any time of the day or night, access to the World Wide Web which is also not limited to certain times of the day, use of video conferences to conduct meetings between people who are far apart, use of mobile phones to send text messages, the intranet that enables access to client information and update of diaries of colleagues with appointments, electronic chat rooms that are useful in holding conversations and updating information for all to see among many other minor means of communication.
The major disadvantage of communication by electronic means is that it ignores the human aspect of physical contact. There are certain aspects of communication that will miss out when communication via electronic means. It is possible that one's tone would be misinterpreted. Certain cues such as facial expression, intonation and other aspects of body language would be totally left out. These are important features in effective communication and would thus influence the performance of a team negatively. This is because team development is dependent on the level of bonding and trust that are critical in team performance.Essentially, communication is used to inspire, inform, and to exchange ideas. Inspiration involves encouraging members to perform and it is through it that commitment is gained and a culture of togetherness enhanced. Members feel motivated to achieve the organizations desired outcomes. Inspiration ensures fulfillment of purposes and achievement of set objectives. Informing has an effect of reducing stress and ensures support for a certain course. Exchange of ideas entails educating members through training and coaching, and therefore develops members intellectually and builds their self-confidence.
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Communication can be upward, downward or horizontal. However, the most effective is a two-way form of communication. An organization should thus combine all of them so that there's communication upwards and downwards as well as across the team. From the skippers' example, the best leaders in the challenge allowed upward communication, encouraged horizontal communication where they communicated with the crew as opposed to the crew, and to a necessary degree applied downward communication.The communication model used in the chapter involves a task dimension and a relationship dimension. The task dimension involves the systems of management put in place for the exchange of information. The relationship dimension focuses on the behavior of a leader and his or her ability to communicate effectively so as to determine the behavior of his workers in an organization or team members. Use of the BT Challenge example has been extensive and relates to the skippers who are the team leaders.A sense of emotional intelligence is brought in and it is shown to be very important in influencing performance as it affects how individuals communicate in any setting. The most outstanding features of emotional intelligence that were observed in the most successful skippers included emotional resilience, self awareness, interpersonal sensitivity, conscientiousness, influence and motivation. Consistency in expression of the above within a leader will be of great benefit to an organization. Unpredictability of a leader influences the nature of communication in an organization which in turn impacts on the behavior of those under him or her by causing fluctuations in their level of productivity.Communication has the power to influence the level of performance of any organization, be it formal or informal. Effective and appropriate communication will bear positive results. The results of the 2000/1 BT Challenge indicate that high-performing skippers communicated effectively and appropriately hence the outcome. Their crews got inspired, informed and exchanged ideas in an environment that ensured teamwork, togetherness and ultimately success was realized.
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