Employees who can most effectively communicate their needs, preferences, ideas, and feelings to their customers, co-workers, and management team have the highest chances of staying employed. There’s no doubt that a lack of assertive communication
skills can have a negative impact on productivity and success. Therefore, it follows that good communication skills will help us improve our job performance and better our chances for promotional possibilities.
Assertive communication, the kind that allows both relationships and organizations to thrive, requires that the participants avoid game playing and manipulation, believe in one another, respect one another, and listen to one another. It also requires the willingness and commitment to put ego and hidden agendas aside in order to establish a relationship based on shared values and common goals.
It’s true there will be times when you have to communicate with people you don’t trust-perhaps people you don’t even like. You will most likely have to tolerate difficult customers, co-workers, and/or employers. But don’t think for a moment that your relationship with them will always include open communication. You cannot substitute tolerance for trust.
A climate of trust in the workplace is crucial because the relationship between employee and employer is an important one, and working for and with people who truly seek communication based on honesty and trust should be everyone’s goal if the organization is to succeed. Without trust and mutual respect, a company can talk about “open communication” in every mission statement, slogan, and strategic plan with no visible results. Trust is the foundation upon which open, assertive communication is built.
Every time we communicate with another person we choose (often unconsciously) to use one of four communication styles: assertive, passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive. Assertive communication, however, is the only one of the four that will enable us to build healthy, happy, and functional relationships. The other three all involve some degree of manipulation, avoidance, or form of game playing that makes it difficult to maintain a relationship built on trust.
It’s interesting to note that most people recognize angry behaviors as aggressive, but they rarely notice that the mopey sadsack is just as manipulative and conniving. Both are effectively using emotions to get their own personal needs met rather than communicating openly and honestly.
Unlike aggressive communicators, people who communicate in the passive style seldom say what’s really on their mind. Their main objective is to avoid a confrontation at all costs. They often put their needs last in an attempt to be liked by everyone and to please those around them. Although it’s sometimes wise to walk away from a confrontation if it’s not worth the hassle, if the passive style is used too often, people can be taken advantage of and dumped on by other more manipulative people. Unfortunately, in their attempts to please everyone, they usually end up pleasing no one.
The passive-aggressive communication style is probably the most difficult one to deal with in a relationship. Passive-aggressive communicators avoid confronting others and steer clear of face-to-face discussions, but they nevertheless want to get their own way or make others suffer. And they usually do it behind another person’s back. They may gossip in the lunchroom or tattle to the manager. This style of communication is laced with deceit and secretiveness because it is always done undercover. It is usually hurtful and can even be dangerous to an organization.
Look around your workplace and try to notice how people communicate. What style do you choose most often? Usually, assertiveness is chosen far less often than its more negative counterparts. Most of us weren’t raised to ask questions, negotiate, and debate issues. Assertiveness takes serious planning. We must think before we speak if we want to communicate assertively. We must also be aware of how we react to other people when they use negative and manipulative communication styles with us.
As you may know, only a very small part of our message is communicated through the words we use. The rest comes from body language, gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions. A shrug of the shoulders or a nod of the head may tell us what someone is really thinking, although their words say something else.
Text String, How about you? Are you working to develop and maintain a climate of trust and open communication in your workplace? Listening is an important part of that goal. In order for a trusting relationship to develop, both sides must believe their needs, ideas, and feelings are understood. That does not mean they always have to agree. But agreements are much easier to reach when there is mutual understanding.
Other Forms of Communication
While we know communicating electronically or in written form can save us time and money, it’s important to remember that how we use these communication tools can help or hurt our efforts to communicate effectively with our customers and colleagues.
Voice Mail. Your voice mail message creates an impression with the person at the other end of the line. Whenever leaving a voice mail message, speak slowly, clearly, and with enthusiasm. Pay attention to what you’re saying. Scripting out your message so you don’t forget any important facts can be helpful. Also, in your outgoing message, don’t waste your caller’s time by singing to them or reciting your joke of the day. People’s time is money, and they will appreciate you being brief, concise, and professional.
E-mail. While e-mail is convenient, it can get out of control with long-winded messages or trivial information that really doesn’t need to be communicated. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t write someone a letter or call on the phone with the information, then resist the temptation to send an e-mail. This medium is not the place for frustrated writers, poets, advertisers, and therapists to get their untold secrets, problems, and advice out to the entire world.
Written Communication. Written communication is not as forgiving as the spoken word. When we write, we don’t have a second chance to get something right or to correct a misconception we may have created. The image we create of ourselves and our ideas on paper is a lasting one. That’s why your ability to communicate in writing-through reports, letters, memos, proposals, and other means-is very important to the overall success of your department and your organization. If your writing skills are lacking, consider signing up for a seminar that can help polish your writing skills. When your written documents aren’t laden with mistakes, your customers will put more faith in your ability and your employer will realize your worth.
Communicate Better Today
Effective communication is more important now than ever before. Because communication is what business relationships are all about, organizations need employees who can communicate openly, honestly, and assertively in all their communication mediums. Those who can do that will add immeasurably to their value and increase their potential for long-term employability.
Because the assertive style is the most effective means of communication, many visionary organizations are offering courses and workshops designed to help their employees communicate more assertively. Although assertive communication is often confused with the aggressive style of communicating, they are actually exact opposites. Assertiveness relies on honesty, openness, forthrightness, and the commitment to not be a victim or play “the blame game.” When you are communicating with a person who is using the assertive style, there is a strong sense that you are being told the truth in a fair and tactful way.
Aggressive communicators may also say what they mean and mean what they say, but they hold nothing back, usually at the expense of others’ feelings. People using the aggressive style of communication have one specific goal: to get their needs met by dominating and controlling others. The two most manipulative emotions used when communicating aggressively are HURT and ANGER. People who use HURT (whining, crying, playing the “victim,” being moody, etc.) want others to feel guilty so they can avoid responsibility for their own choices and behaviors. People who use ANGER (yelling, put-downs, abuse, sarcasm, etc.) want others to feel frightened and powerless so they can get their own way.
Here are some of the more familiar examples in the workplace:
“Oh sure, I would love to help you.” (through clenched teeth)
“No, I don’t have a problem with that.” (eyes rolling)
“Sure. Fine. I’ll be happy to work on the project,” (while heaving a deep sigh)
Many employees underestimate the importance of nonverbal communication. However, to build and maintain a climate of trust, mixed messages, whether verbal or nonverbal, cannot be part of the picture if you want to communicate openly and honestly with your co-workers and your customers. Try to develop insight into your communication style, identifying your strengths and targeting areas for improvement. In addition to the words you use, eye contact, body language, facial expression, and tone of voice are all very important.
Take an honest look at your communication style, both the words you use and they way you deliver them. If you think you may have some areas that could stand improvement, don’t waste any time getting the help you need. An effective communication style can help you attain success in any career.
How Listening Affects Communication
The other important part of effective communication has nothing to do with talking; it has to do with listening. Most people would agree that good listening skills, or the lack of them, send a powerful message to other people about how much the listener respects them and their opinions.
Although many of us recognize the importance of being good talkers and work to develop that skill, we may not spend enough time developing our skills to be equally good listeners. Why is listening so important to your job? Because most people won’t say what they honestly think and feel unless they believe someone is listening and attempting to understand what they are trying to say. The better you can listen to your co-workers, customers, and managers, the better you can do your job and meet expectations.
MY OPINION ON THIS ARTICLE
This article helps us to improve our communication because we are using really a way maybe aggressive or passive communication but what is a right communication way this article shows us cleary.
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