Blogpost 4 – Critical reflection on Learning in the course

A great deal of time has passed since we first started the lessons on interpersonal communication this summer term. At the start, I was apprehensive about the content we were going to learn. I originally thought that this module would be a waste of my time and not contribute much to my studies. I found out later that this is false. Interpersonal communication allows us to use different tools to be able to solve and manage conflicts better. This offer us a wider array of options to approach problems as the course widened our perspectives towards the many tools of de-escalating conflicts we can use. This similarly improved our interaction towards our peers and our superiors. From the many practice sessions on public speaking we did in class, it helped me to plan my train of thought better and this allowed me to be more coherent when speaking to an audience. Thankfully, from this course, I managed to achieve my objectives of giving eye contact to each and every person in the audience and also conflict de-escalation which will be extremely useful in my everyday life.

One major topic I learnt in this course is the use of Daniel Goleman’s model of Emotional Intelligence (EI). From his teachings, I learnt to be better aware of my own emotions and thoughts, and never to react when emotionally charged. The better option will be to move away and cool down first before devising a plan on how to approach the problem better. Managing your impulses well will allow others to be able to trust you better as they will see you as a level-headed individual. The skit involved in the project enhances the importance of being level headed even if the situation is emotionally charged. From the intern’s perspective in our project situation, it must be extremely frustrating for him as he is faced with an unreasonable superior. However, the way that the intern managed to de-escalate the situation only tells us that it’s the technique of interpersonal communication that matters the most. Furthermore, if one was hot-headed and impulsive, the chances of destroying relationships is very high. Thus, with the techniques mentioned in the Daniel Goleman’s model, I will be able to utilize these methods to better myself first, making myself a better person.

Another important topic was the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict instrument (TKI) which allows us to use techniques ranging from assertiveness to cooperativeness. These techniques are versatile as they fit an array of different needs depending of the situation. In particular, I enjoyed the use of compromising myself as it allows me and my detractors to come to a common agreement on any topic. This will allow things to be done quicker and also streamline our discussions. This is especially important as it fits my time-oriented personality. Instead of spending time to argue over a small matter, time can be saved when we agree to the same thing. My learning in the module enhances my ability to stay calm and apply the proper techniques to diffuse difficult situations in the workplace. This fits my initial objective of learning to de-escalate conflict situations and will be extremely handy in my future workplace endeavors. Also, from the various presentations we gave in class, it gives me more opportunities to practise giving eye contact to each and every person of the audience in the room. This allows me to be better connected to the audience and improve my speech as a whole.

In particular, I’m thankful for the support and hard work of my group during the project. It means a great deal when all your teammates come together and work on something together despite all our busy schedules. I enjoyed working with each and everyone in the group as all of them have something special to offer and give this group a different dimension of approach to problems. I’m extremely appreciative of my groupmates as they have met all datelines on time and completed all work, maintaining high standards under the leadership of Alfin. This project, with their support and camaraderie, made this project a great deal of fun.

In conclusion, I have learnt a great deal from this course. The module opened up the various approaches and methods to allow us to communicate better with others. Even though the time spent in this module is short, it has been very fruitful and rewarding to be learning about how to be better to ourselves and communicate well. Therefore, with another chance, I would like to learn more in-depth about interpersonal communications and it’s ramifications.

 

Edited: 18/08/2017

Problems faced by interns in Engineering industries.

Introduction

The engineering industry remains largely relevant in today’s world. A giant in the world of technology, it continues to evolve and innovate new products to improve our quality of life. Sustaining the current crop of engineers are the groups of engineering undergraduates striving to perfect their craft and eventually contribute back to society. With quality education and internship opportunities, the industry seeks to cultivate new blood in the hope of them joining their cause after graduation. However, workplace abuse, an affront to the institutional values of engineering, continues to plague the industry. Therefore, there should be a conscientious effort in ensuring that interns get treated fairly and humanely when they are attached to a company.

In many of these cases, abusers cause their victims to feel inferior. Research by Jennifer, Cowie, & Ananiadou (2003) says that “To call something bullying the person (or persons) confronted has to experience a feeling of inferiority in defending himself or herself in the situation.’’ (Jennifer, Cowie, & Ananiadou, 2003). This is evident in almost all verbal and non-verbal abuse cases.

The article “Abusive boss caught on video admits to assault” (2015) from The Straits Times (Chong, 2015) gives us a glimpse about how workplace abuse of interns is prevalent even in our modern, conservative Singapore. In this article, an IT company manager punched and hit an intern for failing to do a task the way he instructed. This is unacceptable behaviour in today’s society and only further reiterates the need for interns to handle any potential workplace abuse. With proper knowledge on handling workplace abuse, future interns including myself will be able to benefit greatly.

 

Problem identification

However, things may not be smooth sailing for the engineering undergraduates. During internship, they may face problems such as abuse, long working hours, or having an unrelated job scope. Out of the three problems listed above, workplace abuse is by far the most severe. This is a cause for concern as these interns are just students attached to corporations to gain experience. It is unacceptable to be exposing our young to be taken advantage of. With this, it is imperative to equip our budding engineers with the tools to handle workplace abuse.

 

Objective of study

Having the proper skills to handle workplace abuse is important. This will eventually translate to having better communication skills, as well as proper problem-solving techniques when interacting with peers or colleagues in the workplace.  This study will explore the different techniques that an intern can use when faced with a potential conflict in the workplace.

 

 

Potential solutions/implementation to problem resolution

When faced with an abusive superior in the workplace, interns can turn to a series of methods to help de-escalate the situation. One of them is the Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument (TKI) which teaches appropriate responses to conflict situations (Thomas & Kilmann, n.d.). With “Compromising”, interns can learn to find a mutually agreeable solution with the perpetrator (Thomas & Kilmann, n.d.). This will allow both parties to work towards a common consensus for the benefit of all. Another viable solution would be “Cooperating” (Thomas & Kilmann, n.d.). This option is unassertive and often allow the other party to satisfy their concerns at the cost of one’s own concerns. However, this is usually the best way to de-escalate tensions between two parties.

Similarly, Daniel Goleman’s approach using “self-awareness” and “self-regulation” is also good for this situation (Goleman, 2015). Being able to see the big picture and taking the best path will be essential for the well-being of the intern. Also, being self-regulated do work wonders when we are not slave to our own emotions and impulses. It allows the person to be receptive of changes and adapt accordingly, thus sculpting a more thoughtful and reflective individual.

 

Data collection/research method

Some data collection and research methods we used include newspaper articles, scholarly journals, and webpages with information pertaining to our research topic of workplace abuse.

 

Concluding thoughts

Workplace abuse is an evil which is near impossible to eradicate. This may be due to superiors being placed in a position of power over their subordinates. It is especially prevalent when these subordinates are interns, usually too powerless to fight back. However, workplace bullying must not be condoned. With the techniques learnt from Daniel Goleman and TKI (Thomas & Kilmann, n.d.), interns can react better to potential abuse, as well as diffusing a situation fraught with tension. Thus, this will make interns less susceptible to workplace abuse and will improve their quality of life at work.

 

 

References

Chong, E. (2015). Abusive boss caught on video admits to assault. Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/abusive-boss-caught-on-video-admits-to-assault

Goleman, D. (n.d.) Retrieved from  http://www.danielgoleman.info/topics/emotional-intelligence/

Goleman, D. (2015). How self-awareness impacts your work. Retrieved from http://www.danielgoleman.info/daniel-goleman-how-self-awareness-impacts-your-work/

Goleman, D. (2015). Self-regulation a star leader’s secret weapon. Retrieved from http://www.danielgoleman.info/daniel-goleman-self-regulation-a-star-leaders-secret-weapon/

Jennifer, D., Cowie, H., & Ananiadou, K. (2003). Perceptions and experience of workplace bullying in five different working populations. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ab.10055/pdf

Thomas, K., Kilmann, R. (n.d.). An overview of the Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument (TKI). Retrieved from http://www.kilmanndiagnostics.com/overview-thomas-kilmann-conflict-mode-instrument-tki

 

LAST EDITED: 27/07/2017

 

 

Blogpost 2

Interpersonal conflicts will inevitably arise due to misunderstandings or miscommunication between people. This can occur across any forms of relationships, be it between spouses, friends or colleagues. As a whole, conflict is healthy. It serves as a balancing mechanism in relationships. However, constant conflicts left unanswered can fester and become a negative influence on the lives of people involved. It can easily cause hostility and deep resentment if proper steps are not done to improve the quality of the relationship.

One such example of conflict can occur between spouses. In this hypothetical example, a wife notices her husband coming home from work uncharacteristically late. He does not even send her a text message saying that he will be working late that night. Understandably, the upset wife confronts her husband about his late return and demands to know what he is doing the whole time. The husband, weary from his long day at work, simply brushes her off and said that he is tired. His wife then starts berating him as she waited the whole night for his return to have dinner together. Husband retorts that she could have eaten first without him and this cumulates into a full-blown quarrel.

Some possible causes of this conflict may be a lack of cooperativeness between the two parties. In this case, both parties can be more accommodating towards each other instead of their current hostility. It’s human nature to want to avoid conflict. But sometimes, we forget or let our negative emotions override our logical thinking process. This will create conflicts that are undesired but undoubtedly of our own doing.

Personally, I think the husband is rather abrupt in replying his wife as he may be exhausted from his day at work. The constant stress from his workplace may make him look forward to the peace and quiet of home. Instead, he found an angry wife waiting for him. His wife’s grumpy attitude may have caused him to disregard her.  On the other hand, his wife may be feeling neglected as she spent most of the night alone waiting for her husband to be home. This, coupled with a hungry stomach, may have caused her bad temper to be directed at her husband.

From the Thomas-Kilmann’s Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), I feel that both husband and wife can display accommodating gestures towards each other instead of competing. I agree with Azziz that both need to zoom out to gain perspective of the situation by thinking of the bigger picture. To alleviate this situation, I feel that the husband should reply to his wife about his day even though he is tired. After holding normal conversation for a moment, his wife should not begrudge him if he told her of his fatigue and his need to rest. This solution is the result of accommodating his wife even through his discomfort. On the other hand, the wife can accommodate by forgiving her husband for his short reply and still remain nice to him. This should make the husband feel ashamed of his actions after a while and change his attitude towards his wife. Another method that can be used is compromising. The husband can compromise by agreeing to send a text message to his wife if he’s staying late at work. Similarly, the wife can just have dinner herself first if husband is late and simply keep a portion of dinner for him. This will be a good example of reflecting empathy where both parties put themselves in each other’s shoes. Therefore, this shows that the constant use of reflecting empathy will benefit both parties immensely and prevent conflicts from arising .

Kilmann R. & Thomas K. An Overview of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI). (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2017, from http://www.kilmanndiagnostics.com/overview-thomas-kilmann-conflict-mode-instrument-tki

Edited: 09/07/2017

Blogpost 1 – third revision

Communication can come in a variety of forms and often used as a tool for expression. This can be applied in our daily lives, be it communicating with family or strangers. Through learning about communication, I feel that my strength in communication lies within the ability to express myself succinctly. This can be credited to working in sales related jobs for the bulk of my part time working life. As a salesperson, I needed to know my products well and to market it to potential buyers. The secret of the trade is to convince your consumers to think they need a certain product even if they don’t really want it. That is the beauty of having good communication skills in sales.

Another strength I possess is the knowledge to write persuasively. Having a good command of vocabulary certainly helps a great deal with my essay and letter writing. This skill set is utilized to great effect when I am required to communicate with corporations to achieve my objectives. Often, this helped me a great deal when I must achieve certain objectives from a company or even giving feedback with regards to corporation’s’ operations through electronic mail. Continuous improvement of my communication skills through communicating with experienced professionals allows me a higher bargaining and negotiation power.

However, the path to obtaining good communication skills does present its own set of challenges at the very beginning. One such challenge I found was having to phrase thoughts in a way that will not offend the recipient. Many times, we as communicators fail to consider the feelings of those we are trying to communicate with. As a result, our words may unintentionally hurt the other party through misunderstandings.

One other challenge will be my lack of experience in a certain field, placing me at a disadvantage when communicating with others. Experience cannot be bought or learnt quickly. It is the result of a long process whereby people learn appropriate responses to situations through examples and failure. Cultural difference is one such example where I must learn to be sensitive towards others from different backgrounds.

Finally, the two objectives I have set for myself are to learn to communicate without causing unintentional offense, as well as to communicate well in a context without going off topic. These are useful skills to have and will be the best intended result for me to be an all rounded communicator.

Blogpost 2 – Non verbal communication

Non-verbal communication comes in many forms. Many times, non-verbal communication convey messages that may be different from what someone is saying verbally. We can pick this up from a person’s facial expression, body language or even personal grooming. With this in mind, we have to be careful of how we portray ourselves as most people pay more attention to the things left unsaid.

On one occasion, I had the opportunity to witness a type of non verbal communication in action. Accenting are cues that underline or highlight a verbal message and is most often used when people are feeling angry. This incident happened when my classmate entered class almost half an hour late. My teacher angrily demanded when he was late, and without waiting for his reply, she turned around and threw a whiteboard duster at him. This action underlines her anger that can also be found in her words towards him.

Another type of non verbal communication can be found in this incident. The victim of the whiteboard duster throwing incident kept quiet and just stood in the corner while the teacher angrily berated him. Being quiet is also a non verbal cue as the classmate substituted his hurt for silence even when he was physically attacked.

These incidents are just part and parcel of our daily lives. This highlights the importance of identifying non verbal cues so as to understand the different reactions that people around us take when confronted with any situation. Furthermore, the abundance of non verbal cues in this one incident alone only shows how much we may miss if we do not pay attention to what’s around us.

 

Com 150 – Blogpost 1 (Final Edit)

Communication can come in a variety of forms and often used as a tool for expression. I feel that my strength in communication lies within the ability to express myself succinctly. This can be credited to working in sales related jobs for the bulk of my part time working life. As a salesperson, I needed to  know my products well and to market it across to potential buyers. The secret of the trade is to convince your consumers to think they need a certain product even if they don’t really want it. That is the beauty of having good communication skills in sales.

Another strength I possess is the knowledge to write persuasively. Having a good command of vocabulary certainly help a great deal with my essay and letter writing. This skill set is utilized to great effect when I am required to communicate with corporations to achieve my objectives. Often, this helped me a great deal when I must achieve certain objectives from a company or even giving feedback with regards to corporation’s’ operations through electronic mail. Good communication allows me to sound trustworthy and this often allows me a higher bargaining and negotiation power.

However, the path to obtaining good communication skills does present its own set of challenges at the very beginning. One such challenge I found was having to phrase thoughts in a way that will not offend the recipient. Many times, we as communicators fail to consider the feelings of those we are trying to communicate with. As a result, our words may unintentionally hurt the other party.

One other challenge will be my lack of experience in a certain field. This will put me at a disadvantage when communicating with others. Experience cannot be bought or learnt quickly. It is the result of a long process whereby people learn appropriate responses to situations through examples and failure.

In view of this, the two objectives I have set for myself are to gain enough knowledge to communicate without causing unintentional offense as well as to communicate well in a context without going off topic. These are useful skills to have and will be the best intended result for me to be an all rounded communicator.

Blog assignment 1: Strengths and challenges in Communicating [Final]

I feel that my strength in communication lies within the ability to express myself succinctly. This can be credited to working in sales related jobs for the bulk of my part time working life. As a salesperson, it is important to know your products well and to market it across to potential buyers. The secret of the trade is to convince your consumers to think they need a certain product even if they don’t really want it. That is the beauty of having good communication skills in sales.

Another strength I possess is the knowledge to write persuasively. Having a good command of vocabulary certainly help a great deal with my essay and letter writing. This skill set is utilized to great effect when I am required to communicate with corporations to achieve my objectives. Often, this helped me a great deal when I must achieve certain objectives from a company or even leaving feedback with regards to corporation’s’ operations through electronic mail. Good communication allows me to sound trustworthy and this often allows me a higher bargaining and negotiation power.

However, the path to obtaining good communication skills does present its own set of challenges at the very beginning. One such challenge I found was having to phrase your thoughts in a way that will not offend the recipient. Many times, we as communicators fail to consider the feelings of those we are trying to communicate with. As a result, our words may unintentionally hurt the other party.

One other challenge will be my lack of experience in a certain field. This will put me at a disadvantage when communicating with others. Experience cannot be bought or learnt quickly. It is the result of a long process whereby people learn appropriate responses to situations through examples and failure.

In view of this, the two objectives I have set for myself are to gain enough knowledge to communicate without causing unintentional offense as well as to communicate well in a context without going off topic. These are useful skills to have and will be the best intended result for me to be an all rounded communicator.

[Blogs commented on:]

  1. Azziz: https://abdulazziz-com150.blogspot.sg/2017/05/strengths-and-challenges-in.html#comments
  2. Syu lynn: http://shucomonefivezero.blogspot.sg/2017/05/strengths-and-challengers-in.html#comments
  3. Lin Zaw: http://linzawcom150su17.blogspot.sg/2017/05/strengths-and-weakness-in-communicating_15.html#comment-form