All other management functions involve communication in some forms of directions and feedback. Effective management is a function of effective communication. Many operations have failed because of inadequate communication, misunderstood messages and unclear instructions.
Communication skills can make or break a career or an organization. Studies conducted by Gary Benson, through a survey questionnaire sent to personnel managers of 175 of the largest companies in Western States in America indicated that written and oral communication skills are critical not only in obtaining a job but also in performing effectively on the job. The questionnaire contained some questions regarding the factors and skills that are most important in helping graduating business students obtain employment. Oral communication was considered to be the most important skill and the second most important skill was the written communication.
From organizational point of view, effective communication is very essential for management to perform its functions. It seems that there is a direct correlation between employee communication and profitable operations of an organization. As a senior executive noted:
“The best business plan is meaningless unless everyone is aware of it and pulling together to achieve its objectives. Good communications are the lifeblood of any enterprise, large or small. Communications are essential to keep our entire organization functioning at maximum levels and to make the most of our greatest management resource – our people”.
Communication can be defined as “the process by which a person, group or organization (the sender) transmits some type of information (the message) to another person, group or organization (the receiver)”.
It is only through communication and transmitting meaning from the sender to the receiver that ideas can be conveyed and discussed. It is a meaningful interaction among people so that the thoughts are transferred from one person to another in such a manner that the meaning and the value of such thoughts is same in the minds of both the sender of the communication as well as the receiver of the communication.
This is a very important aspect, otherwise an idea, no matter how great, is useless until it is transmitted and fully understood by others. This is one reason why, generally speaking, groups form on the basis of intellect similarities so that the group members are at a similar level of thinking and communicating. The communication cannot be understood by all members if some members of the group are highly intelligent or highly technical and others are not.
Proper communication between interested parties reduces the points of friction and minimizes those that inevitably arise. Accordingly, by proper communication and sharing of information, the management takes the employees into confidence and makes them more knowledgeable about problems and policies of the enterprise. The scope for a two-way means of consulting and exchanging facts, opinions and ideas between management and employees pertain to the knowledge of:
i. Objectives and policies of the organization.
ii. Results and achievements from these policies.
iii. Plans and prospects for the future.
iv. Conditions of service.
v. Ways and means of improving efficiency and productivity.
vi. All aspects of industrial safety, health and welfare.
Information and knowledge about all these aspects makes the operations of the organization comparatively trouble free and it is the management’s responsibility to ensure that employees have obtained all the necessary information about these different aspects and get the necessary feedback relative to these aspects.
This would make the workers aware of their own duties and responsibilities as well as the instructions and directives from the upper levels of management hierarchy and also their own suggestions, grievances and feedback.
Proper communication eliminates delays, misunderstanding, confusion, distortions and bottlenecks and improves coordination and control. It is a basic tool for motivation and improved morale. Supervision and leadership are impossible without it.