My name: (professor’s)
Communication is the process and the result of exchanging the information. Effective communication — the exchange of information when manager is able to make effectual decisions and brings them to the employees. Many theorists and experts in management agree with the following statement: communication is the main obstacle in achieving main goals of organization (enterprise). The reason for the low efficiency of communication in organizations is forgetting the fact that communication — it is an exchange. During the exchange both parties play an active role, as it is important not only to provide information , but it is necessary for the other party to perceive it in a proper way. I will try to make an in-depth analysis of basic reasons for main communication misunderstangis and how to properly communicate with a hostile manager in the workplace.
Effectively Communicating with a Hostile Manager (Paper section)
Starting point of all interpersonal communication is self, i.e., representation of a person's self that determines the choice of companion and content of communication. It should be adequate. You should not underestimate your advantages, but you can’t indulge in self-love. Otherwise, interlocutors will be critical towards you and that will cause a negative impact on communication in general. In the 60-70-ies of XX century under the influence of humanistic school of psychology such definition as “relationship of openness and understanding” became more important for researchers. At that time, ideology of "honest communication” was very popular, it has developed a desire for good interpersonal interrelations. Carl Rogers said that the purpose of communication - an adequate understanding of themselves and others, and the understanding is possible only in honest communication.(1). According to humanistic psychology, interpersonal understanding is held through self-disclosure, feedback and perception of how to open up more. Confusion and dissatisfaction in the relationship are mostly caused by dishonesty, mismatch between actions and emotions, weak relation, shyness in the disclosure of person.
For a perfect communication openness (transparency) is necessary in the relationship, i.e., a free presentation of yours to others and others to you. More open you are — more developed your personality. But the world is social, and if others are closed, one-sided openness may hurt the person. People need to think predictive and use smart disclosure so that closed or cunning people do not use you for their own selfish purposes and goals. The secrecy leads to autonomy and security, and openness — to the unity, co-operation, but only with adherents. In a real life, all those things are more complicated, so one should be careful. Managing somebody’s efforts (and person, as well), or being managed by others it is always necessary to stay within the boundaries of the possible and objectionable.
The impact on the other person in the communication has constructive and destructive forms. First helps to improve communication in relationships. Destructive form causes dissatisfaction or harm relations. Effects are shown as the following:
- Affirmation — this is the promotion of rights without infringing on the rights of other communicators. This is the best active action to embody own interests. This effect means people take on them leader’s functions, initiate conversation, protect their rights in social situations, while resisting pressure of others and rejecting compromise.
- Argumentation — takes place when person supports own point of view and refuses to accept the opponent’s. The arguments help you to see better the different points of view, to increase confidence, to develop communicative skill. All people are encouraged with acceptance of their ideas, but not all have enough argumentation.
- Revealing of wrath, anger, denial, indignation, suspicion by one of the participants of the communication process – this is obviously a negative impact. Here a person has the most stressful ambience.
- Verbal aggression. It is often associated with hostility. Shown in aspiration to hurt someone emotionally without using physical strength. If the arguments are directed against the ideas, the harsh words – against a person, against self-consciousness in the form of insults, threats, emotional explosion. They can cause anger, embarrassment, confusion and other negative reactions. Hostile and aggressive person compensates the lack of arguments, especially if it is prone to agression. Accordingly the communicators may be divided into two groups on argumentators and aggressors. In reality, they are of different kinds. Much depends on the situation, for example, the aggressor calms down during presence of chief and ungirdle in relations to subordinates. Ambiguous behavior happens due to certain circumstances. People resort to to ambiguity in the disputed situation where every choice can have negative consequences, and any clear message is objectionable (Schachter). For example, sometimes person can neither lie, nor say that it is bad about the poor presentation of project, so there is an evasive answer given.
Interpersonal adaptation of communicators reflected in the fact that they adapt the volume, tempo of speech and gestures, etc. to each other’s. If they want to highlight the differences, they are doing the opposite. This is a convergence, i.e. strengthening of similarity, trusting each other, and divergence, increasing differences: they are used in all verbal and non-verbal communication, and include the choice of words, grammar, voice, gestures, accents, speech rate, etc. Convergence and divergence can be: 1)Reciprocal and non-reciprocal ; 2) Full and partial ; 3) Consciously understood and spontaneous and instinctive. Convergence is important to strengthen the unity and community, and divergence - to maintain or increase the distance. Convergence is enhanced due to the similarity of people attractiveness, predictability, intelligence and mutual involvement. People appreciate the convergence of the interlocutors, but only in those cases when the person is not counterfeited, and when it accurately corresponds to the situation and has good motivation. You always have to keep your style, but to be able to adapt.
Further I would like to describe important part about methods which help to achieve concessions. According to the theory of exchange, a concession — it is an exchange for something. Exchange theory is based on the fact that people want to get the other one(thing, advantage, etc) in exchange for another. The methods are divided into few clusters: expertise, impersonal obligations (for example, invocation of the morality) and personal liability (debt), and there are several varieties in each of them. Here they are:
- Positive Assessment ("Look, how nice would it be,if you give in").
- Negative Review ("This is how it will be bad if you do not give in" or "We both will be in a bad position if this situation continues" ).
- Image of friendly attitude ("We are working here together, let’s not make things too complicated and try to find a resolution").
- The call to duty ("You are in position here to make things going in a right direction, let us find a compromise").
- Appeal towards morality ("It will be a high moral act from your side, if you judge the situation from my point and find an alternative").
- The attribution of positive emotions ("You will be feeling perfectly if you do what I’m asking you for " or " You will get more advantages, if you make a step towards me" ).
- The attribution of negative emotions ("You're going to feel bad if you do not do this, as what I’m asking you for — it is a right thing to do")
- Positive example ("So did good people").
- Negative example ("Look what happened to those who did not give")
- The call to altruism ("That will cost you nothing, however you win")
- Showing respect ("You will be respected for it")
- Showing disrespect ("Everybody will turn away from you")
These are the methods to convince people that they concede — and these methods under normal use, along with personal communication skills and the ability to defend its position in any situation (conducive or infringe) are effective and help to resolve different conflict situations in your workplace, help to turn hostile person to loyal. And your next step — you are surely able to make a deal or reach any kind of agreement in case your interlocutor is loyal.
People explain the causes of conflicts based on their understanding of human behavior. The attribute theory says that they attribute the blame to someone, but, as a rule, not himself. There are three methods to resolve interpersonal conflict:
- Avoid conflict. It can be direct or evasive, and you can deny that there are conflicts, you can reduce the emphasis on controversial issues, and you can turn the conversation to "philosophical" level of a joke or interrupt the serious tone of the conversation. That is, however, does not help much in a long-term perspective.
- Cooperative behavior – when communicators seek to achieve mutual positive results. The parties agree on a calm, pragmatic description of the problem, to be frank in discussing, friendly criticality, understanding and compromise. Both parties take the responsibility for resolving the conflict.
- Competitive behavior. Usually happens when manager criticizes subordinate, does not agree with his opinion, threatening, asks hostile questions, allows himself rude jokes, exposes interlocutor and denies any responsibility for the conflict. Here you may try to be calm, diplomatic and defend your position by strong arguments.
Generally, the choice of method and strategy depends on the nature of the problem situation and the behavior of each of the communicators (AMA).
As a start for next part, I would like to write few sentences about the hostile work environment itself, as it is also very important to take into consideration the actual surrounding and the factors ( both positive and negative ) which take place and have a direct or obliquely influence on person. A hostile work environment ( HWE ) is a form of harassment. This is demonstrated by such a heavy and pervasive behavior that permeates the work environment and violates the employee's ability to perform his or her duties and job in general. Manager is exactly that person who is responsible for the work environment of his employees. That environment must be so convenient that your employees always have the opportunity to succeed and prosper in job performing. Wise manager should be always able to find equilibrium in situations when balance is broken and any negative processes appear. To deal with HWE is really hard sometimes, however any kind of harassment or bullying which occurs at workplace has to be dealt in professional and assertive manner. This is really important for a victim of such effects to reply to any co-worker, boss (especially boss!) or employee who was caught on bullying behavior. You must immediately acknowledge such behavior as unacceptable and ask the offending person to stop it. If there is more than one offender, then the victim should speak with them all and warn them (at first in polite manner) not to do that again in future (Jameson).
When you are assured about the harassment, it is necessary to conduct an expedited investigation into the allegations to determine if a hostile work environment / harassment really exists. Let Equal Employment Opportunity Manager know that immediately. The EEO Manager must note the allegation, the date, and descriptive details. After you are presented with the expedited inquiry report (an expedited inquiry is an administrative review), you must determine what further actions must be taken. You may ask for advice your EEO Manager or consult with Employee Relations Specialist. Next possible step from employee is to report the incident and his or her actions taken to the company's HR department and TOP management and ask for a copy of the report along with the firm's HWE policy. In case company has no HR department or HWE policy or seems unresponsive, you have to contact the United States Department of Labor, or another structure (depending on country), and to get more necessary information which you might be using as protective measures as well . This is important to receive acknowledgments (usually they are written and signed) issued by state agency and other personnel with whom the victimized employee speaks along with the date and other details clearly noted. Analyz and determination of actions by the level of hostility is necessary in such cases. Once a person feels threatened it is better to make autorities aware of the situation, so there is a higher possibility they will take it under control for necessary actions. From another side, try to be more public-oriented (let people around you pay attention to what is going on) , if you do not agree with remarks from your boss. Probably, that is a situation of differing perceptions, so another person (colleague, manager) simply may not distinguish which utterances may hurt you. Such effects as simple teasing and offhand remarks usually are not classified as threat. Most such cases become resolved ambicably — you just have to make it clear for offender that you do not like his attitude. Nowadays majority of companies have already developed strict policies regarding workplace harassment in order to protect their employees. But it happenes that management fails to react, and HWE keeps on pressing you. So then you can sue the employer (organization). If you have made decision to go with it till the end, you have to keep in mind, a successful lawsuit depends on your action undertaken, but not only on how inappropriately the management acted. So in case you gave a hostile respond or made a brash act — that will make the chances of your lawsuit being successful close to zero. You must remember that both yours and employer's behavior will be scrutinized closely in the eyes of law, so be careful with words and actions.
If your manager (and he is must be representing company policy as well ) is trying to force you quit by creating HWE, then a possible good option for you is to hold on to job. Complain about the concerned person to the upper-level management. Moreover, there is a plenty of different governmental structures and which are ready to help people suffering from HWE in the workplace.
Summary Conclusion Section
As a main conclusion I would like to write the following : personal communication skills of any employee often play a defining (but not always the main) role in the establishment, development and transition of interpersonal contact starting as loyal, or so-called friendly to such as tense and conflict. The key point here is just ability of person to perceive, analyze, interpret and exchange information, thus using it correctly with minimal risk for protecting own interests. Depending on the specific situation, whether bilateral conflict with a manager or a unilateral violation of the rights and interests of the subordinates take place, the employee must first of all rely on a completely adequate and sincere desire for regulating conflict , to understand the cause, if it is possible and take the necessary measures to achieve the main goal ˗ that is actually approaching the moment when current relations status is changing, and the result is a cessation of the previous negative processes that have taken place before. Stated above material describes some aspects of the fundamental principles of the birth of misunderstanding, and as a result, the conflict, which has helped to draw some conclusions and put approximate action plan, or I should rather say, steps t o follow in order to protect the employee, his possible options for decoupling of the current situation. Based on the fact that in this study were not considered special case studies (examples of conflict with the head-manager, the description of situations where the employee had to work in unacceptable conditions) result is as follows: regardless of the nature of the situation, encroachments harassments or even assaults by manager deliberate aggression against a subordinate, the employee is then the first and most important link in the chain, which should stop the process happening, and instead of the negative trends to generate new, leading to satisfaction primarily of common interests, but without sacrificing their personal.
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(Schachter, S., & Singer, J., Cognitive, Social, and Physiological Determinants of Emotional State, Psychological Review, 1962,69,379-399.)
Zimring, F. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/publications/ThinkersPdf/rogerse.PDF
(Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, vol. XXIV, no. 3/4, 1994, p. 411-22.
©UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 1999 )
Jameson, A. (n.d.). Retrieved from
AMA. (n.d.). Retrieved from