Updated: Oct 23, 2019
How proper communication is the most important factor for achieving success.
Whether in normal life or in business, communicating between each other is 1) an essential element of our success in our lives and in our careers; 2) a skill that is not as easily grasped as most of us think; and 3) usually underestimated when it comes to its importance and overestimated when it comes to our level of mastery.
Bad communication can lead to as much harm as a bad decision. Even more, bad decisions can manifest their harmful impact quickly and clearly, while the harm of bad communication can hide and crawl slowly without being noted till true damage is done.
Soft skills in general, and communication skills specifically are increasingly gaining importance as a cornerstone in the individual success of any employee and the overall success of any organization. In several situations, communication skills prove to be even more important than technical skills. And this is not just related to the jobs that involve working in teams and with customers, even high-tech companies are increasingly searching for people, who master communication skills, although in principle these companies focus on technological know-how.
Several studies show that the ability to communicate between employees and superiors is of the utmost importance for achieving work performance. Studies searching for employability factors classified the skills of oral and written communication as the main factors that increase employability. I personally believe that emotional intelligence means nothing without the ability to apply this intelligence through proper communication, and I discussed this in details in my book.
With the development of information and communication technologies, communicating with others became an instant and widely used daily norm. Hence, the skills associated with communications are becoming more and more important. Moreover, the growing globalization of business interactions forces the need to mastering not only communication skills on local levels, but also international and intercultural communication together with the knowledge of business etiquette with all international specifics, which requires a stronger grasp of communication skills.
Nevertheless, multiple researches show that employers are not satisfied with communication skills possessed by young graduates. Reports show that employers consistently rank communication skills as the most important, but rank it at a very late place regarding the actual development of these skills by fresh graduates looking for jobs. This gap is driven by two inconsistencies, one between the assessments of employees to the level of their own communication skills versus the assessment of their employers. The other is between the criteria of “competent communicator” the newly hired employees set for themselves and the criteria set by their employers. These two gaps create most of the mismatch between what the employers expect from their newly hired employees and what the latter actually offers.
Business Communication should not be studied as a separate or optional course, but rather as an ongoing program that is entrenched with all other business courses.
Less focus should be given to teaching theories and evolution of communication skills, while placing more emphasis on role playing, simulations and case studies to further develop the practical aspects of communication skills.
Employees, especially newly hired ones, need to spend time with their employers to further understand their perception of “competent communicator.”
Ref.: Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. XXII, 1/2019
"Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success."-- Paul J. Meyer