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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Communication one of three key components of
management skills, July 7, 2006, 2D.
Organizational research has identified three important
classes of management skills. Technical skills, or
job-specific skills, are of great importance for the success
of low-level managers who have to guide and direct
first-line workers on task-related issues. Conceptual
skills, or the abilities to see a bigger picture of the
organization and how it fits into and interacts with its
environment, are very important for high-level managers.
Middle-level managers, who work to solve problems with low-
and high-level managers, need an almost equal balance of
technical skills and conceptual skills.
Communication and interpersonal skills are the third set of
management skills identified by researchers. These skills
are highly and equally important across all levels of
management. This is because collective work and
organization requires that people communicate and work with
each other to perform and to define goals, plans,
responsibilities, and methods of work.
ability to clearly communicate ideas and concepts to others
is the foundation of social groups and societies. The ways
and messages that people communicate help define their
cultures. Communication allows people to transfer
information stored in their minds to the minds of others.
We do this through spoken and written language and through
non-verbal methods. Body language, gestures, and the
inflection and tones of our voices further allow us to
communicate with others.
interpersonal perspective, the communication process
involves encoding, transmitting, and decoding messages.
Encoding is the process of putting a message from our mind
into a form that can be sent to another person.
Transmission is the process of sending messages and decoding
is the process of interpreting messages. As you read and
make sense of the words in this column, you are
participating in the communication process. You are
decoding a message that has been encoded into written form
and transmitted through the newspaper.
Organizational leaders and managers communicate with others
in a variety of ways. Managers can send messages to
individuals and groups through face-to-face interaction,
group meetings, telephone, electronic formats, and letters
and memos. Selecting an appropriate channel for
transmission is dependent on a variety of factors—including
time, purpose, cost, and confidentiality. It also requires
that both the sender and receiver use the channel of
transmission. Selecting an inappropriate channel can harm
the effectiveness of the communication.
Communication effectiveness also depends on proper encoding
and decoding. When a message is encoded in a way that it
cannot be accurately decoded, message transfer will be
corrupted. A message encoded in a certain language will not
be properly decoded by a receiver who is unfamiliar with
that language. Decoding errors occur when receivers
incorrectly interpret transmitted messages. A message can
only be properly communicated when the encoding,
transmission, and decoding parts of the communication
process are correctly performed.
Effective communication is a critical and complex process.
It is required at all levels within organizations—where
communication is often two-way and ongoing. Encoding,
transmission, and decoding accuracy must be continually
assessed to ensure effective communication.
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