In the course reading this week there was a focus on ‘noise’ preventing effective communication. Explain the different types of noise introduced and provide at least three workplace scenarios describing situations where the noise could exist.
Noise will appear in any system that requires communication, therefore all people involved must be vigilant to prevent as much noise as possible in order to make intentions clear. One barrier to communication could be literal noise drowning out a conversation. This can come in a couple manners, including having too many people working in too small of a space, communication equipment being outdated or broken, or not having a meeting in an appropriate location away from other distractions. The filtering of information can also cause problems where messages are not fully received. Some words don’t stick with people as much as others especially in verbal communication, so they may not recognize the importance of everything being said, therefore somethings might need to be emphasized to ensure the whole point is getting across. Information overload can be caused when too much information is received at once and cannot be retained. This occurs often in micromanagement, where each detail is given too much attention and therefore creates an overload on the individual receiving the message. Semantics is the focus on the specificity of words being used, and can obscure the meaning of a message. An individual sending a message must choose their words to be precise and not be misinterpreted as much as possible, otherwise the receiver could be seeing an entirely different message than the one being sent. Connotation can cause problems in situations where there are many different people from varied backgrounds communicating. If English isn’t someones first language, they may not pick up on connotation that is second nature to native English speakers. Emotional disconnects can effect communication when someone isn’t in a right state of mind in order to receive information. An individual that is experiencing anxiety or stress will not be able to fully receive information at that point in time. Perceived credibility is another barrier that can prevent the reception of a message. There are a few things that can affect someone’s credibility such as perception based on past experience or poorly presenting a topic. The many barriers to communication will never be fully circumvented, but by keeping them in mind, a workplace can achieve a more secure connection (Bruton, n.d.).
Here are some examples of noise preventing information from being fully understood:
If a foreman of a construction project realized that some piping needed to be rerouted and has decided to discuss this with a couple of the plumbers. While explaining the new dimensions of the piping, an excavator drives by and the plumber thinks that the foreman says a different number than he actually said. This is a physical noise preventing effective communication.
An employee receives an email from her supervisor stating: “the paper shredders, recycling bins, and trash cans need to be replaced”. The employee gets the impression that they need to contact the resource manager and order new items, but the manager actually meant that the trash bags for these items need to be replaced. This is an example of semantics, by not specifying what needed to be replaced, they failed at communicating properly.
A new front line manager arrives at a company and explains that if people don’t behave more professionally in the workplace, they will be fired. A few of the employees who have been at the company are skeptical of this threat because the manager is new and probably doesn’t have power like that yet. The manager lacks perceived credibility to be making statements like this.
Explain why change is hard for your employees.
Change is difficult for employees because it means changing the status quo, pushing them out of their comfort zone. Workers often strive to find a rhythm in their work to reduce mental stress as well as increase productivity. Change can mean breaking this rhythm, which can create a front of resistance to the change. In addition to this, change can also be perceived as an addition of work, therefore provoking negative reaction among staff members that might already feel like they are doing enough work. Overall, the largest concern with change is that the mere mention of it can mean anything and is left up to the to the employee’s imagination, which can cause stress and anxiety (Managing Change for Employees, n.d.).
Describe how a Change Agent can help an organization navigate through difficulties.
A leader focused around organizational development is a change agent geared towards long term success of a company. A change agent can do a few things to push a company in the right direction, but the first step is the realization that a change needs to happen. From here they can act as a catalyst to diagnose the issue, define a strategy, and implement the desired actions. Working the employees through the change is the most difficult part because of how naturally resistant to change people are. One way to ease the process is to rationalize why the change needs to be done, and to explain how the end goal is a much more desirable place to be. Also, it is good to set short term goals as well as long term ones. Change is best done in increments to avoid large portions of the organization needing to adapt to entirely new objectives simultaneously. A company’s compatibility for organizational development is entirely based around its adaptability and therefore its manager’s ability to ease change (Managing Change for Organizations, n.d.).
Bruton, J., & Bruton, L. (n.d.). Barriers to Effective Communication. UMGC BMGT 364 A324 online classroom, Module 14. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-principlesofmanagement/chapter/barriers-to-effective-communication/
Lumen Learning. (n.d.). Managing Change for Organizations. UMGC BMGT 364 A324 online classroom, Organizational Culture and Innovation. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-management/chapter/managing-change-for-organizations/
Lumen Learning. (n.d.). Managing Change for Employees. UMGC BMGT 364 A324 online classroom, Organizational Culture and Innovation. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-management/chapter/managing-change-for-employees/