What’s the Connection? OB, Communication, and the Canadian Workplace
Just like people, organizations come in many shapes and sizes. We understand that the career path you will take may include a variety of different organizations. In addition, we know that each student reading this book has a unique set of personal and work-related experiences, capabilities, and career goals. Research suggests that Canadians will hold, on average, 15 jobs over the course of their working career (Columbia College, 2019). In order to succeed in this type of career situation, individuals need to be armed with the tools necessary to be lifelong learners . So, this book will not be about giving you all the answers to every situation you may encounter when you start your first job or as you continue up the career ladder. Instead, this book will give you the vocabulary, framework, and critical thinking skills necessary for you to diagnose situations, ask tough questions, evaluate the answers you receive, and act in an effective and ethical manner regardless of situational characteristics.
Communication is key to your success—in relationships, in the workplace, as a citizen of your country, and across your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from experience, and experience can be an effective teacher, but this text and the related communication course will offer you an opportunity to understand your communication skills in relation to psychological principles.
Communication Influences Your Thinking about Yourself and Others
We all share a fundamental drive to communicate. Communication can be defined as “the process of understanding and sharing meaning” (Pearson & Nelson, 2000, p. 6). You share self-concept and meaning in what you say and how you say it, both in oral and written forms.
On the other side of the coin, your communications skills help you to understand others—not just their words, but also their tone of voice, their nonverbal gestures, or the format of their written documents provide you with clues about who they are and what their values and priorities may be. Active listening and reading are also part of being a successful communicator.
Communication Influences How You Learn
When you were an infant, you learned to talk over a period of many months. When you got older, you didn’t learn to ride a bike, drive a car, or even text a message on your cell phone in one brief moment. You need to begin the process of improving your communication and interpersonal skills with the frame of mind that it will require effort, persistence, and self-correction.
You learn to speak in public by first having conversations, then by answering questions and expressing your opinions in class, and finally by preparing and delivering a “stand-up” speech. Similarly, you learn to write by first learning to read, then by writing and learning to think critically. Your speaking and writing are reflections of your thoughts, experience, and education. Part of that combination is your level of experience listening to other speakers, reading documents and styles of writing, and studying formats similar to what you aim to produce.
As you study communication, you may receive suggestions for improvement and clarification from speakers and writers more experienced than yourself. Take their suggestions as challenges to improve; don’t give up when your first speech or first draft does not communicate the message you intend. Stick with it until you get it right. Your success in communicating is a skill that applies to almost every field of work, and it makes a difference in your relationships with others.
Communication Represents You and Your Employer
You want to make a good first impression on your friends and family, instructors, and employer. They all want you to convey a positive image, as it reflects on them. In your career, you will represent your business or company in spoken and written form. Your professionalism and attention to detail will reflect positively on you and set you up for success.
In both oral and written situations, you will benefit from having the ability to communicate clearly. These are skills you will use for the rest of your life. Positive improvements in these skills will have a positive impact on your relationships, your prospects for employment, and your ability to make a difference in the world.
Communication Skills Are Desired by Business and Industry
Oral and written communication proficiencies are consistently ranked in the top ten desirable skills by employer surveys year after year. In fact, high-powered business executives sometimes hire consultants to coach them in sharpening their communication skills. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the following are the top five personal qualities or skills potential employers seek:
- Communication skills (verbal and written)
- Strong work ethic
- Teamwork skills (works well with others, group communication)
- Analytical skills
Knowing this, you can see that one way for you to be successful and increase your promotion potential is to increase your abilities to speak and write effectively.
An individual with excellent communication skills is an asset to every organization. No matter what career you plan to pursue, learning to express yourself professionally in speech and in writing will help you get there.
- Communication forms a part of your self-concept, and It helps you understand yourself and others, solve problems, learn new things, and build your career.
This section is adapted from:
What is organizational behaviour? from Organizational Behavior (2017) by University of Minnesota and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Why is it important to communication well? in Business Communication for Success by Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Columbia College Calgary. (2019, Sept. 16). How often do people change careers in Canada? https://www.columbia.ab.ca/often-people-change-careers-canada/#:~:text=Research%20suggests%20that%20Canadians%20may,jobs%20in%20a%20lifetime%20today.
National Association of Colleges and Employers. (2009). Frequently asked questions. http://www.naceweb.org/Press/Frequently_Asked_Questions.aspx?referal=.
Pearson, J., & Nelson, P. (2000). An introduction to human communication: understanding and sharing. McGraw-Hill.