Effective Communications Competence

Misti Forest - Cross-Cultural Communication Isn't Always Easy...

Ineffective Communications:

Everyone knows that there is a great deal of truth to that adage about the proverbial age gap between parents and children.  Imagine if you would having two budding teenagers – ages 11 and 13 and being 57 years old.   This is my visitation life.   There are numerous occasions on which there is miscommunication, more so with the youngest  than with the oldest.  Still, we do see the world differently, have different cultures and from time to time bump heads as all parents do with their kids  Or, at least that seems to be the case in my experience.   As we approach different subjects, there are times when I have pulled the because I am your Dad and I said so card out.   That’s never effective.. okay rarely.  It mostly works when they’re feeling merciful.

Greater Communication Competence Impact:

What I have implemented from the start is that I have spent more time speaking to them eyeball to eyeball, getting on my knees when they were younger to quietly explain why something has to be done or why it is a best practice as a set of principles.  I cannot say this will work for every parent.  But, the gain that I think I have experienced is that when I am not present and decisions need to be made, I know that they have these guiding principles in their minds that I have shown them how given situations might be handled and not lead to larger errors.   With my oldest daughter, she will even tell me that she appreciates that I have taken the time to show her the advantage of my viewpoint and that she can talk to  knowing that I will listen and when she’s right give her lee way to see how things work out her own way.  The youngest is still a work in progress but as we spend more time together, she is slowly developing the same sort of relationship with me.  I believe this is all down to the point made in the text in that “what is said and how it is said take on greater significance…” (O’Hair, 2012, p. 14). 

Unethical Communications:

While I was working for a government agency, I was able to observe the difference between good and decent communication flow and then the unethical communications implemented by the successor to the manager position for the department’s agency.  Where the original director had been very encouraging of active bottom to the top communications and listened carefully for good ideas that often come from the front lines, the new manager who took over the first manager’s position on his retirement mouthed the right words but had no follow through.  I found it very unethical that she would stand up committee after committee with the false word being put out that she was looking to change how things were done for the better.  In reality, she would take all the proposals from just about every committee and shelf these in favor of strictly crunching the numbers as to what moved the “widgets” most quickly whether or not it was providing good customer service to those we served and/or their families.   The result was an ensuing moral issue that reflected in increasing turnover as the better personnel who could move on did and those stuck working there felt as though anything they did was futile and subject to change.  Slowly but surely and even more quickly in fact, the sub-department within that very important agency became totally numbers driven to the extent that when I left there was a movement within lower level but skillful personnel were redirecting their attention to getting these matters before the Inspector General.  There were two meetings prior to my leaving the agency in which the Manager and the supervisors were disinvited from  meetings held between the Inspector General’s team and the personnel in an attempt to address what was widely seen as mismanagement and inappropriate communication.  My understanding is that the situation is in process of being looked at and changes implemented.  The thing I felt was the most unethical was the misrepresentation by the new manager that she was listening to the working staff when in actual practice, several from the front office reported to those of us working to be effective that our efforts were actually be looked at derisively at best as the Manager was not all that interested in the things that had worked to bring that sub-department to a leadership position prior to her tenure.  Nor, did she care to listen to any feedback as to what was going wrong.  Instead there came to be a punitive, micromanagement environment with constant changes that few felt made anything better.

The importance of an effective feedback loop were amply demonstrated by what was going on prior to my leaving.  I am, in fact, supposed to have a meeting with some personnel in order to gather notes and try to advocate for some of the needed changes now that I have removed myself from harm’s way.  We will see how that plays out in the long run.  With Covid-19 coming into play, I have until this assignment actually lost a bit of sight of this as new priorities developed.  I want to thank you, Professor Waldow, for this assignment as it reminds me that I need to reach out to personnel who should be probably be working in office at this point. 

Greater Communication Competence Impact:

The National Communication Association’s Credo holds that “(E)thical communication is fundamental to responsible thinking” and “decision making”.  “Unethical communications threatens the quality of all communication and consequently the well being of individuals” and I would daresay and add the well being of organizations and those the organization is intended to serve.

Setting up committees without good intent as to following through with the falsely solicited input and feedback received was a face saving gesture at best.  It is totally disrespectful to those who workers who have served well and worked hard.  As such, it does not constitute appropriate behavior.  Having thought this through in the course of this Discussion Board assignment for Unit 1, I will reach out to the personnel still there to see if now would be a good time to present this the Inspector General and ascertain what has been done to date given the problematic scenario faced in dealing with personnel working from home now. 

Thanks for any and all input and for the patience as I mentally worked this out as to my new plan of approach for this pressing issue.

What has been your experience in gaining greater communication competence in the circumstances of life?

Wiemann, D.O. M. (2011). Real Communication + The Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://purdueuniversityglobal.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781457692796/

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About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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