Communication is not just what is said, it’s what’s heard. This phrase used to ring true to so many of us. It used to be the one cliché that governs our thinking of communication. It used to be our go-to definition for communication. One must be very cognizant of what they are communicating if they are in a management position. If you are striving to successfully lead a group or organization of people, interpersonal communication can make or break your efforts.
Interpersonal Communication is defined as “A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through.” (Communication,” Merriam-Webster.com. 2011) Communication in the workplace has gotten worse in the last decade and there are many reasons for this.
Some of the improvements in workplace communication are attributable to the attention it has gotten in regards to customer service. In 2008 after the United States was declared to be in a state of recession, organizational leadership, nationwide, began to capitalize and improve their customer service as a way to increase sales and revenue. It was quickly discovered that companies everywhere needed improvement. The culprit at the center of this discovery was our beloved cell phones. Across America it was discovered that employees were glued to their cell phones even when dealing with customers. People who use cell phones in a public place generally ignore others, as if they weren't there. That indicates one's priorities and hence social values. (Bugeja 2004) Cell phones have created an environment that fosters bad communication. While everything with cell phones is not a negativism, it has allowed us to become poor communicators. Cell phone, Blackberries, pagers, etc., are given out to employees in most companies. Many managers feel as if their cell phones are required for communication. Sadly they have hindered them. There are many personal observations I have seen to attribute to this. When an employee is allowed a cell phone that is to be used strictly for business communication, it allows the employee to email, call, or text immediately in response to, or to begin a dialogue. This is not always a good thing. We are allowed to interpret anything we see over email, over text, or hear over the phone however we wish. The information that is communicated goes through your own filter. We hear what we want to hear not necessarily what was intended. You read what you want to read and internalize it in our own way, not necessarily in the way it was intended. While cell phones are not all bad and our society will never see another day without them, managers must be careful to use them in a way that lets us maintain their professionalism, civility, and humanity. When one uses the cell phone all the time it allows him to lose his edge on certain skills that are necessary for face to face communication. (Bugeja, 2004) Another disadvantage to using cell phones is that some may become “email bold”. This is not just limited to the cell phone, this is also with email. There is no doubt we are going to encounter emails and other communications we do not like and may be downright rude! The all too often response is to be rude right back. Not only is this not how we are to behave as Christians in the workplace it is wrong to say or communicate anything over any technology that we would not say to a person’s face. This is known as being “email bold” or “hiding behind the computer.” When we are not in the practice of communicating to one another face to face, we lose valuable interpersonal skills. We may not want to admit we are email bold or that we are hiding behind the computer, but where one skill is not sharpened another bad skill takes the lead.
Face to face communication in the workplace keeps us honest. I am a true believer in this. Many people do not want to believe that honesty and communication are intertwined. When we do not speak the truth it is our human nature to not...
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