Workplace Environment: Professional Communication
Do you think that the practice of professional communication at workplace is important for professional growth? If yes, justify your answer with an example.
The very concept of professional communication is found to be encompassing written, oral, visual as well as digital communication within a workplace context. As communication in the modernized social set-up is considered a rapidly changing area, the technological advancements seem to be outpacing the number of available expert practitioners (Schullery, 2013). This tends to create a demand for skilled communicators that manages to exceed the supply concerning trained professionals.
As the field concerning professional communication is related to the field of technical communication at large, it surely does play a significant role when it comes to the arena of professional growth. It is often found that professional communicators tend to be using strategies, learning theories and relevant technologies for serving the purpose of more effective communication. Communication being a critical skill for influencing others, building trust amongst co-workers, empowering the individuals as well as the teams – professional growth depends to a great extent on the communication factor (Varjoshani et al. 2015). Professional communication helps the professionals in professionally interacting with the team and also in the professional work field. Learning powerful tools for improving communication is necessary because the very basis of business activities is effective communication which not just helps in maintaining equilibrium in the workplace; but also in connecting with the involved parties (Schullery, 2013).
It has been found that professional communication draws on theories from a variety of fields such as psychology, sociology, science, rhetoric, philosophy and linguistics – which are largely different from one another (Schriver, 2012). It is found that successful communication skills are quintessentially critical to businesses as all sorts of businesses tend to involve writing, reading, speaking, listening, software applications, computer graphics, unlimited research on internet and others – which are integral parts of professional communication. It is believed often that potential job candidates with respective backgrounds of professional communication are more likely to bring forth polished as well as sophisticated notions concerning society, science, culture and technology to the business organizations they work for (Schnurr, 2012). As amongst all sorts of managerial skills, communication skills are considered the foremost; whether one wants to lead or manage or connect with others – professional communication is essential (Louhiala-Salminen and Kankaanranta, 2011).
Email can be considered as the most widely used professional communication instrument. Numerous emails are exchanged in workplace amongst employees and authorities in order to convey even the slightest of changes and variety of information apart from discussing it face to face in meetings or conferences (Schnurr, 2012). Email communication is essential for professional development too because unless one is acquainted with the communication style via email, one cannot proceed for other technological advancements. Maintaining effective professional communication denotes individuals are serious about their professional career and put in best efforts for ensuring their respective professional growth. Effective interaction is the base of successful professional career and helps one in growing professionally with precision (Varjoshani et al. 2015).
Practicing professional communication at workplace has become common nowadays, especially in cases of multinational corporations (MNCs) where employees are from different socio-cultural backgrounds (Schriver, 2012). Professional communication is all about communicating information amongst team members and in this regard intercultural communication is also largely inclusive. Professional communication happens to be referring to the oral, written, visual and digital forms of information delivery in the workplace content which is a must for effective professional interaction (Robbles, 2012). As professional communication involves writing or speaking which is accurate, complete in itself and effectively understandable to the audience in terms of telling the truth about the data in direct and clear manner; professional activities cannot be done without it in any way.
Moreover, professional communication helps the working individuals in reflecting respective personal branding. Any form of professional communication is bound to be channeling individual personal brand and this is evident in the abundant usage of social media platforms in any form (Paludi, 2012). That is how individuals and their own unique brands are presented to the world and are accordingly perceived by others.
Define the terms ‘assertiveness’, ‘aggressiveness’ and ‘submissiveness’.
‘Assertiveness’ denotes confident and forceful behavior. ‘Aggressiveness’ signifies hostile or violent behavior with regard to determination and forcefulness and competitive attitude. This term often indicates making an all-out effort for winning or achieving success by dint of showcasing militantly forward and often menacing attitude (Jafari, 2013). ‘Submissiveness’ is the very quality of being submissive. In case of being submissive, the concerned individual is found to be ready for conforming to the respective authority and will of others in course of showcasing a strong sense of obedience (Weeks et al. 2011).
Distinguish the difference between ‘assertiveness’, ‘aggressiveness’ and ‘submissiveness’
Aggressiveness indicates the communicator’s aggression who often is perceived as a self-righteous bully with the attitude of dismissing others and their respective feelings and opinions. It is often found that aggressiveness is inclusive of criticism and intimidation; as the communicator in concern often resorts to humiliation when it comes to communicating as a viable instrument of dominating others (Shaver et al. 2011).
Submissiveness is indicative of compliant attitude where individuals tend to showcase amenable behavior in terms of being docile as well as non-resisting. Submissive people possess the willingness of doing what is being told to them by others irrespective of situations or impacts (Weeks et al. 2011). The malleable attributes of the submissive person makes himself/herself a passive individual who is not just meek and mild; but also often appears spineless because of the pliant behavioral patterns which involves the need for avoid conflicts and putting own needs last.
Assertiveness is considered the balance between passive-natured submissiveness and rough-natured aggressiveness (Jafari, 2013). In terms of being assertive, a person generally communicates his/her perspective and opinions with regard to being respectful of others. Studies suggest that assertive people tend to communicate their respective opinions without any sort of apology and in turn allow others in voicing out their opinions (Peneva and Mavrodiev, 2013). Assertiveness does not encourage or showcase pushovers in terms of recognizing the limits to which they can bend accordingly if necessary.
How do assertiveness skills benefit you in the work place environment?
Being assertive in the workplace environment is a largely misunderstood concept as many people tend to confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness which leads to domineering over others. Studies reveal that although every individual wants to feel empowered as well as acknowledged in the respective workplace; but a sense of powerlessness and subjugation tend to overcome the majority of them (Jafari, 2013). This happens due to the individuals’ incapacity of expressing themselves with both confidence and clarity. Assertive people do not undermine others, but are confident enough to clarify their needs effectively which signifies sort of balance in the workplace.
Studies reveal that amidst the varied style of communications, the healthiest most communications style is assertiveness which though everyone aspires for but remains underused largely. Individuals at workplace are segregated as passive or submissive, aggressive and assertive; whereas the line between aggressiveness and assertiveness is often blurred due to misconception and misinterpretation of the concept (Ome et al. 2014). Team members who try to be assertive often veered off into the so-called ‘aggressive territory’ and therefore they are marked as not-compatible team players.
It is quite evident that assertiveness skills benefit the workers in the work place environment because assertiveness is all about expressing one’s opinion without encroaching upon others’ opinions (Warland et al. 2014). Assertiveness skills are inclusive of expressing both positive and negative feelings in public in an honest as well as direct way. Assertiveness involves recognizing the own individual rights while respecting the rights of others simultaneously (Peneva and Mavrodiev, 2013). Assertiveness at workplace ensures the workers are allowed for taking responsibility for themselves as well as their actions; and at the same time other people are not judged or blamed for expressing their different opinions and ideologies.
Maintaining an environment of equilibrium is one of the major bi-products of assertiveness. Delivering an effective yet tactful, fair as well as assertive response to a specified situation would be praised for in workplace scenario because that would showcase the impromptu aptitude of the worker and also his/her presence of mind and adaptability as per the situation requirements. Synchronizing both verbal and non-verbal communication is essential for assertiveness (Ome et al. 2014). Employees need to be aware of the body language in the critical situation alongside the points to be addressed in course of presenting the solution with clarity. People with assertive nature tend to stick to the point without making it personal and this certainly benefits them by means of keeping good terms with the colleagues and authorities in the workplace. It is to be kept in mind that being assertive is surely a great thing, but one must not be acting towards overcompensation with regard to moving forward to the aggressive zone (Garner, 2012).
Situation: Suppose you are working as a senior purchase officer in a large organization. You feel that your section supervisor Thomas is ordering excessive amount of stationary and duplicating some orders. How would you approach Thomas with your concerns? Thomas is sometimes aggressive and sometimes defensive. You must reach to an acceptable solution accretive way.
Your opening statement to Thomas at a meeting in his office is “Thomas I need to speak to you about the latest purchase requisition”.
a. How will you present your view in assertive manner?
From the perspective of a senior purchase officer in the organization, I do have the authority to engage Thomas, the section supervisor in conversation essential for organizational welfare. Thomas’s activities concerning stationery order placing need to be talked about and should be conveyed to him in a strictly professional manner. In course of keeping in mind Thomas’s aggressive and sometimes defensive manner, I need to tackle the situation quite assertively. Regarding the latest purchase requisition, Thomas needs to be asked for immediately but without any sort of argument or misunderstanding.
Being an assertive communicator myself, I am not afraid of asking Thomas about the latest purchase requisition directly without getting angry or out of any emotional response. I can call Thomas privately in the work chamber and talk him into the situation. I can showcase the facts regarding purchase requisition which indicate stationery orders are being duplicated and often ordered in excessive amount – that clearly give evidence of Thomas’ wrongdoing within organizational premises. Clearly defining and stating my needs as a senior purchase officer (such as ‘We need to talk about the purchase requisition today. What time would work for you?’) would show my respect for the person concerned (i.e. Thomas) and also the boundaries of authority. Blame-game is not part of assertiveness and therefore instead of ‘you’ statements, ‘I’ statements (such as ‘I need better resources for doing my job effectively’ instead of ‘You are creating a mess and making it difficult for me to do the job’) would come handy in this case.
Saying ‘No’ respectfully to the other party is a significant step in showcasing assertiveness because in that way, the inability for doing something is expressed without being disrespectful in the rejection and also avoiding passive communication (Bohatko-Naismith et al. 2015). Avoiding casual words is another effective way of speaking assertively because those are not necessarily part of professional conversation and often deviate from the seriousness of the conversation.
b. What feedback you will provide to Thomas to achieve win-win outcome?
Thomas’ ordering excessive stationary items and sometimes duplicating them is adversely impactful on the company budget. Though it may seem minor, but Thomas should be made aware of the reality that taking undue advantage of the company resources is certainly not part of policy and work ethics. He should be dealt with in assertive manner and given his aggressive and defensive behavior; he is not to be confronted irrationally (Teague and Roche, 2012). I need to tackle the situation quite assertively and strike a negotiation with Thomas for ensuring a win-win outcome.
Rather he can be offered to be continuing his job from his designated job role, but with a check (me being the senior authority in this regard can certainly keep check in this context). He can make use of any excess resources with the company permission, but ordering excessively and often duplicating orders will not be entertained – and this should be made clear to him in the conversation. He has to understand that he being a valuable employee to the organization, the company cannot do away with him; but given his habits, he needs to check himself for keeping his job and also not taking undue advantage of the situation and trust placed on him.
c. What levels of conflict have you and Thomas reached?
Thomas and I are in no level of conflict after the whole conversation is done assertively. He and I being in the same team are well aware that working with mutual trust and understanding is the best plausible way of coping with the job issues. Thomas needs to realize that his aggressive and often defensive behavior is not going to work in favor of his actions; and given an opportunity to be explained and informed assertively – he should be at cooperative terms with his colleagues and seniors. Mutual understanding can only bring forth an effective solution to the problem which is not just hampering for the business company but also for the professional career of Thomas. I, from the senior purchase officer perspective is his senior authority and is every bit concerned for my co-workers similarly like the business organization itself.