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Communication is the process by which people assign, express, and relay meanings for a shared understanding with those they are communicating or interacting with. It involves exchange of information or ideas between or among people. This exchange may be through signs, words, or behavior. This process necessitates a wide array of skills. These skills may include, but are not limited to evaluation, interviewing, listening, and observing. These processes may be transferred to the community, occupation, school, home, and many other places. Furthermore, these processes occur on a developmental basis. Individuals or groups can only collaborate through communication (Hogan, 2012). Furthermore, smooth operations can only take place through communication.
In organizational contexts, people have to spend much time on communication in order to achieve set objectives and goals. Thus, the process of communication is the basic means, by which an organization could be able to accomplish its respective goals. There is no wonder then that many organizations embark on regular assessment of communication skills. Moreover, these evaluations have a direct impact on promotions and salary increases.
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Good communication among healthcare personnel, consultants, families, and caregivers is critical to good patient care, management, and operations in a health care setting. Communication helps leaders in performing their responsibilities and jobs. Moreover, it also serves as a basis for planning. All the necessary information, decisions, and strategies have to be communicated to leaders who in turn must communicate them to junior members to implement them. Further, organizing also requires effective communication with all people concerning their various tasks and obligations. In the same way, leaders are expected to communicate and interact with their juniors and subordinates in order to achieve specified goals. It may not be possible to control an entity without oral or written communication (Guffey, Rhodes, & Rogin, 2010). Communication is the core of most of the functions and operations that take place in an organization.
Communicating Support Strategy
In essence, it is essential for hospital managers to possess communication skills for advancing their careers. A health practitioner could employ effective communication strategy when dealing with issues such as negotiations, human resources, as well as other matters relating to conflict resolutions. The skill will also enable the practitioner to positively interact with trustees of the board of directors, other physicians, and employees in the facility, patients, and the public.
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The main functions of management include financial management, ensuring the welfare of human resources and patients, and coordination of operations of the organization. In particular, a manager is mandated to plan, organize, lead, and control. These are the main four aspects of management (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin, & Cardy, 2008). All these functions cannot be carried out successfully without effective communication skills.
Some of the planning aspects of a hospital manager include: to receive referrals from other physicians, coordinate with community members, schedule work for the staff, and ensure that the staff are adequate to handle all cases in an effective manner. Managers are responsible for planning how time should be utilized, booking matters, financial aspects, and appropriate payments from each patient. In addition, they also plan for emergencies and unexpected arrivals of acute care patients, which may require more personnel or space.
The aspect of organizing is also another function of managers. Tasks involved in organizing include making in-home calls on schedule, ensuring that contingency plans are placed in motion to reduce duration of the period when patients have to wait, and so on (Kleiman, 2010).
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Managers are also expected to be leaders in their work contexts (Rakesh, 2010). In this perspective, they are expected to conduct meetings with their employees on a regular basis concerning various issues. The manager is responsible for setting goals that each employee is expected to achieve. These may include how they are supposed to use their time, how they are expected to relate with patients and other workers, and how they are to deal with emergencies. The leading aspect of the manager also involves regular discussion and addressing of issues affecting employees and the organization in general. For instance, they are responsible for upgrading or renovating the equipment and structures, addressing expenses for repairs and maintenance, ensuring employees’ welfare, and dealing with insurance matters. Managers are also responsible for creating awareness programs among their staff on how they are expected to relate between themselves, with clients, as well as their seniors.
Leading entails a lot and not just sitting around some desk as bosses. It also entails teaching others through example. For instance, a manager in a healthcare setting may be out on some occasion with nurses as well as other staff holding meetings with service employees, HMOs, health insurance companies, and other hospital representatives.
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Control is another crucial managerial function, which is subjective in nature. Effective control necessitates an appropriate attribute in leadership (Rakesh, 2010). For instance, control in a healthcare setting may mean establishment of teams and a respective atmosphere for teamwork. Managers are not expected to operate as lone rangers, but in collaboration with others. For example, a manager may require suggestions on the best way how to handle a certain task or case from the staff. All these functions necessitate effective communication for operations to be executed effectively.
Furthermore, the role of managers is to ensure job and client satisfaction and organization’s success in general (Craig, 2009). For instance, it would be good if employees liked what they do and it is the work of managers to support them in such endeavor. This means that managers are expected to contribute to establishment of an atmosphere of team building. Additionally, a leader is the one to be looked upon in case of emergencies or work that requires immediate operations. This means that organizational leaders are quite crucial when it comes to solving work- or organization-related issues. Other areas include motivating employees through arranging teamwork. If clients are satisfied with services provided and if workers are also satisfied, it means that the organization’s image is boosted. Moreover, they will also get more clients. Satisfaction of employees and clients is the greatest factor in business success. The work of the management does not only entail managing people, rather it also means managing oneself, providing the necessary effort and time for ensuring that all operations are run successfully.
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A healthcare organization could improve its communication systems by incorporating social networks. They can do this by establishing discussion forums or having accounts in social media, including Twitter, FunSpace, and Facebook (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2014). The management should also invite employees, customers, and other stakeholders to discuss specific topics about the organization’s issues, products, and services. In doing so, company’s managers will be able to learn perceptions of stakeholders concerning organizational leadership, as well as products and services offered. Furthermore, the organization can use internet social sites as channels for casual communication with customers (McFarlin & Sweeney, 2014). Besides, casual communication with customers can be enhanced through visiting customers frequently as they undertake their daily tasks and inviting them to informal settings such as restaurants and recreational sites where informal interaction can take place. Casual communication is good since it enhances confidence of stakeholders. The following table presents a specific action plan that could be considered by all leaders in the healthcare management team.
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The following table presents S.M.A.R.T objectives on how to improve identified weaknesses in communication skills.
S.M.A.R.T Objectives in Improving Communication for Healthcare Leaders
|To improve communication using computers
|To improve understanding of pragmatic language of different cultures
|To stop using jargon when speaking
|Doing practices on computers as well as other electronic devices. Using skilled workers to train those who have low knowledge in computer systems
|Learning pragmatic language used in different cultures from books, including making apologies, individualism vs. collectivism, and the use of requests
|Practicing to use basic English when speaking and writing through avoiding the use of technical terms and overcomplicated words
|Lack of adequate time for leaders to go for computer training and to do practice
|Lack of adequate time to read books about pragmatics and difficulties in understanding local languages of different cultures
|Some people may be used to jargon and, hence, they may find it difficult to stop even after practicing the use of basic language
|Resources and/or support
|Computer and other technological gadgets and support from skilled workmates
|Books and support from natives of different cultures
|Writing materials and support from workmates and friends
From this discussion, it is evident that the work of a manager in a healthcare setting is almost similar to that of many other organizations. In particular, the role of the management entails planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. The paper has also pointed out that there are specific skills necessary for a manager to excel in each particular work setting. Effective communication skills are one of the key aspects for a successful manager. This is because a manager needs to have good interrelation not only with employees, but also with all company’s stakeholders. Moreover, most functions in a healthcare setting, including support strategies, will have to be implemented through communication.