Critical Reflection

Through the CPD module, I had gained a lot of insights from the reading materials, in-class discussions and the weekly assignments given to us. Each class was engaging, interactive and enriching whereby we get to present our ideas and share our thoughts freely with our classmates. I get to work with different and random partners throughout the trimester, people whom I had never really talk to in school, and I actually learnt more about them.

Next, several topics taught in class such as the Thomas-Kilman’s conflict model, verbal and non-verbal communication, personal branding and much more had allowed me to gain awareness of myself. These interpersonal communication topics will help me a lot as I continue to advance in life, especially in my career.

Also, the interpersonal communication group project allows us to boost our thinking skills and work on a topic that is relatable to us. It enables us to share our insights to our class and course mates based on the chosen topic. As there are three specialisations in the hospitality industry, everyone has the different experience in the various specialisation they are in. It has provided a better understanding of different interpersonal communication problems for me, my group and everyone as the showcase of training videos were of different topics through this project.

All in all, the CPD module has greatly prepared us as we progress further in our career. I am glad that I have grown through this module, as I am now able to speak much confidently in front of a crowd than before. However, I know that there are still more rooms for improvement in terms of communication and writing skills for myself. I will keep in mind the various feedback given by Prof. Brad and further improvement myself in future.

Final Draft

Introduction

Communication is the foundation of all interaction between people, including superiors and subordinates. At times, superiors tend to be domineering and demanding when they speak to their subordinates. Being a domineering leader can bring about unpleasantness in the workplace environment because it promotes a working environment that is not open and receptive.

Conversely, being a supportive leader promotes a healthy environment that everyone enjoys working in. It can help make interpersonal communication more pleasant, thus enhancing the workplace environment through teamwork and open communication. According to the guest relations officer at Naumi Liora, “He (her senior colleague) doesn’t boss around, he doesn’t put in a way like he is more senior than me. He can lead me to do things without making feel like I am inferior.”. She further elaborated that some colleagues tend to be more domineering, especially when delegating tasks, which makes the recipient feel unappreciated.

Judging from the comment above, employees may feel demoralized and unenthusiastic about work due to domineering managers. Therefore, it is important for managers to practice being supportive as this can facilitate communication and cooperation among employees. If done well and correctly, being a supportive leader can help to improve interpersonal communications, promote a healthier working environment and enhance employee well-being (Hammer, L. et al, 2013).

Workplace Context

The specific workplace context chosen for study is in a hotel, where interpersonal communications occur daily, especially between various operations departments. Choosing the hotel as a workplace context can be more relatable as well, especially for students of the hospitality industry. This can also serve as a reminder for them who may become managers in the future.

Nature of Project’s Professional Importance

In the article titled “Learning to Lead Without Authority” (Great Work Cultures, 2016), it is stated that real leaders bring genuine impact to their communities without hierarchy by realizing that the true force of an organization or hotel is front line employees who are in charge of daily operations. This practice is crucial as most employees or subordinates often look upon managers and learn from them through mentoring or coaching. Hence, it is important for managers to set a good example by being supportive so as to strengthen teamwork and coordination among employees.

Objective and Scope of Study

The objective and scope of the study are to showcase the difference between a supportive and domineering leader. There is a need to understand the undesirable consequences of leading with a domineering tone and how it affects people within the workplace environment. This will raise awareness amongst future hotel managers and serve as a measure to prevent communication breakdown in a hotel environment.

Proposed Research Method

An interview conducted with one of Naumi Hotel’s front office agent was used as the primary source to justify the existence of the interpersonal communication problem while related articles were used as secondary research sources for cross-referencing.

Thematic Focus

The project will be emphasizing the importance of being a supportive hotel manager and the impacts supportive hotel manager will bring upon. Recommendations and benefits will also be highlighted so as to help potential managers understand what kind of behaviors they should adopt to be a supportive leader and what positive outcomes can be expected.

The recommendations that the team will be focusing on are the fundamental behaviors that a supportive leader should have. By focusing on the fundamental behaviors, it can allow potential managers to have a better understanding and a head start on how to act accordingly to be a supportive leader.

Benefits highlighted will revolve around the hotels and employees. These are usually the area of ‘interests’ for potential managers as these factors are greatly related to performance measurement. Highlighting the benefits can also allow potential managers to realize how relevant the scope of the study is.

Solutions

Previous studies have shown that the performance in organizations is directly related to the leadership behavior. This means that organizational leaders have to act supportively in order to enhance employees’ performance in the organizations (Center for Creative Leadership, n.d.). Therefore, several behaviors of a supportive leader are recommended in order to allow potential managers to be supportive so as to promote a healthy working environment.

According to Gibbs’ defensive and supportive communication model (refer to Table 1), empathy is one of the communications strategies adopted by supportive leaders. Thus, the first recommended behavior of a supportive manager would be to show empathy towards employees.

According to Horwitz (2013), there are valid explanations for an incident, managers should manage their own biases and adapt to the different listening styles of employees. Managers should be empathetic towards employees and guide them along with any mistakes, to allow them to learn from experiences, instead of reprimanding them for not performing well.

The next behavior that a supportive manager should adopt is to be an active listener. One of the most supportive things a person can do for anyone is to really listen. This is even truer when a person is in any position of power, especially managers (Eikenberry, 2010). Managers should always involve employees in daily meetings or discussions sessions by asking for suggestions with regards to any issues that arose.

Another study was done by Yukl (as cited in Simmons, 2010) on ‘Nine Supportive Leadership Behaviour’ listed “Be patient and helpful when giving instructions or explanations” as one of the behaviors that supportive leaders should work on. It is important for managers to be patient when delegating tasks to employees with a friendly and helpful tone. By doing so, the managers will also appear as more approachable by the employees, which can, in turn, facilitate better communication.

Benefits to the workplace

Various studies have proven that being a supportive leader or manager can bring forth several benefits for the organizations. The first benefit would be improved work performance of employees. According to Simmons (2010), if a manager practice supportive leadership, the employees will likely be more satisfied with the manager and their jobs. With an increased satisfaction level, employees, in turn, be more willing to perform well in their jobs and hence benefitting the hotel in terms of brand reputation and recognition.

In an interview with Kossek (Purdue University, 2016), a research conducted with regards to the benefits from having supportive leaders showed that teaching managers to be more supportive can have cost savings for turnover and lower stress. The can be another great benefit to the hotel as well, as labor is often one of the major contributors to overall operational costs of a hotel.

Being a supportive manager can also benefit the working environment by promoting healthy working relationships between manager and employees. This is supported by a study conducted by Yukl (as cited in Simmons, 2010), which explained that supportive leadership helps to build and maintain effective interpersonal relationships. This can help to enhance team dynamics among the employees and facilitate better communication within the workplace.

Conclusion

With the primary and secondary resources collected, it is evident that having supportive leadership is crucial in hotels. By focusing on the topic of “How to be a supportive hotel operations manager”, the team hopes that this study can help to minimize miscommunication and create a better working culture within hotels.

 

References

 

Creducation.org. (n.d.). Defensive and Supportive Communication. Retrieved from Interpersonal Skills – Respect vs Disrespect: http://www.creducation.org/resources/interpersonal_skills_module/defensive_and_supportive_communication.html

 

Dodds, C. (2016, August 8). How to lead without authority. Retrieved from BestTech.io: https://besttech.io/how-to-lead-without-authority-e10036b95958#.5rcq5ycup

 

Eikenberry, K. (2010, July 5). Eight Supportive Behaviors Every Coach (and Person) Should Use. Retrieved from Leadership & Learning: http://blog.kevineikenberry.com/leadership-supervisory-skills/eight-supportive-behaviors-every-coach-and-person-should-use/

 

Great Work Cultures. (2016, July 27). Learning to Lead Without Authority. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/great-work-cultures/learning-to-lead-without_b_7883062.html

 

Hammer, L., Ernst Kossek, E., Bodner, T., & Crain, T. (2013). Measurement development and validation of the Family Supportive Supervisor Behavior Short-Form (FSSB-SF). Journal Of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(3), 285-296.

 

Horwitz, R. (2013, June 11). 9 Ways to Influence Without Authority. Retrieved from HRVoice.org: http://www.hrvoice.org/9-ways-to-influence-without-authority/

Jessica. (2016, January 29). Leading Innovation: The Importance of Leadership in Innovation. Retrieved from Soapbox: https://soapboxhq.com/leading-innovation/

 

Purdue University. (2016). EMPLOYEES AND COMPANIES BENEFIT FROM SUPPORTIVE SUPERVISORS. Retrieved from Purdue Krannert: http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/news/features/kossek-fssb.php

 

Simmons, B. L. (2010, September 24). Nine Supportive Leadership Behaviors. Retrieved from Positive Organizational Behavior: http://www.bretlsimmons.com/2010-09/nine-supportive-leadership-behaviors/

 

Project Synopsis Draft #2

Introduction

The interpersonal communication problem being explored is ‘How to lead without authority for hotel manager’. In all workplace context including hotels, communication is the main form of interaction between people. Leading with authority can bring about unpleasantness in the workplace environment which can sour relationships and teamwork among employees as well because it promotes a working environment that is not open and receptive.

According to an interview with a staff at Naumi Liora, the guest relations officer concurred with this idea and commented “He (her senior colleague) doesn’t boss around, he doesn’t put in a way like he is more senior than me. He can lead me to do things without making feel like I am inferior.” She further elaborated that some colleagues tend to have adopted a more authoritative attitude in ordering others to complete certain tasks which made the recipient feel unappreciated.

Judging from the comment above, employees may feel demoralized and unenthusiastic about work due to fear and authority instilled by managers. Therefore, it is important for managers to practice leading without authority as it can facilitate communication and cooperation among employees. If done well and correctly, it can help to improve interpersonal communications and promote a healthier working environment.

Workplace Context

The specific workplace context chosen for study is in a hotel, where interpersonal communications occur daily, especially between operations departments. The front office and housekeeping managers communicate the most in hotel operations as they have to handle guests’ requests when received and be able to pass down the message to the respective departments accurately.

Being students of the hospitality industry, choosing the hotel as a workplace context can be more relatable as well. This can also serve as a reminder for all students who may become managers in the future.

Nature of Project’s Professional Importance

In hotels, managers are usually the main contact person when handling guests. Behind the counters, the managers are also the middle person in most organizations’ hierarchy, in between the operational staff and higher management. This means that the managers are also the middleman who facilitates communication within the organization, thereby sometimes resulting in the need to activate the authority button as a convenient outlet.

An article titled “Learning to Lead Without Authority” (Great Work Cultures, 2016) stated that real leaders bring genuine impact to their communities without hierarchy by realizing that the true force of an organization or hotel is front line staff who are in charge of daily operations. This trait is crucial as most employees or subordinates often look upon managers and learn from them through mentoring or coaching. Hence, it is important for managers to set a good example so as to strengthen teamwork and coordination among employees.

Objective and Scope of Study

The objective and scope of the study are to showcase the difference between someone who leads with and someone who leads without authority. There is a need to understand the undesirable consequences of leading with authority and how it affects people within the workplace environment. It helps to raise awareness about this issue to prevent such situation from arising before it results in any interpersonal communication breakdown in a workplace.

The training video will highlight the available alternatives should someone subconsciously lead with authority. While our main target audience is hotel managers, part of the training video hopes to educate subordinates to recognize that their superior is leading with authority and thus identify it as a problem, and not succumb to its negative effects.

Proposed Research Method

In order to justify the existence of such interpersonal communication problems in the hotel workplace context, there are several proposed data collection methods that would be used. Related online articles and academic journals were used as secondary research sources. As for primary sources, an interview conducted with one of Naumi Hotel’s staff was also used to show the existence of the interpersonal communication problem.

Thematic Focus

The project’s thematic focus would be on a training video that showcases three scenarios that commonly happens in a hotel workplace. It involves the interaction between managers and their staff. Bad examples of leading with authority would be compared and contrasted with a good example of leading without authority for each scenario. This would allow the audience to be able to understand the difference and then learn from the good examples.

The three scenarios are mainly focusing on (1) showing empathy towards your staff; (2) being a listener during daily meetings; and (3) delegating tasks to your staff. The training video will end off with a summary, re-emphasizing the good examples and informing audiences the Dos and Don’ts in order to lead without authority.

Solutions

Solutions suggested for the three potential problems identified include the following:

  1. Showing empathy towards your staff – According to Horwitz (2013), There are valid explanations for an incident, managers should manage their own biases and adapt to the different listening styles of employees. Managers should be empathetic towards staff, especially newly recruited staff, and guide them along with any mistakes so as to allow them to learn from experiences instead of reprimanding or telling them off for not performing well. 
  2. Being a listener during daily meetings –  Managers should always involve staff in daily meetings by asking for suggestions with regards to any issues that arose. In the case of complaints, managers should listen to staff’s explanation before reprimanding them.
  3. Delegating tasks to your staff – Managers should let staff have a say in their work involvement by asking for any volunteers or anyone who are willing to take on the tasks, instead of delegating it to them without asking for their opinions.

Benefits to the workplace

The benefits of studying this topic can allow managers in hotels to learn how to lead without authority. The training video can let managers be aware of the detrimental effects of leading with authority, how it would affect the workplace and then the ways to prevent it from happening.

As operational staff in hotels usually take instructions from managers, it is important for managers to not lead with authority so as to provide a more conducive and supportive environment. As stated in the article “How to lead without authority” (Dodds, 2016), the less authoritative operational managers are, the more control and trust they give others, the more willing and encourage the staff or subordinates would be to perform well at work.  This, in turn, can positively affect the service level of staff and hence benefit the hotels as well in terms of having a good reputation and brand name.

In terms of benefits for employees, leading without authority can promote a positive work environment where all staff and managers can contribute towards discussions by giving feedback. By doing so, it can allow the hotels to have a healthy communication platform. This is very crucial as communication is part and parcel of every working environment. Having a healthy communication platform can also help to reduce conflicts and improve team dynamics.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the training video hopes to better portray the effects and outcome of leading without authority, through which, to alleviate and prevent the vicious cycle of hotel managers contributing to an unhappy work environment due to their lack of understanding of the detrimental effects of leading their subordinates with authority. This training video hopes to change that mindset and create a better working culture in hotels.

References

Dodds, C. (2016, August 8). How to lead without authority. Retrieved from BestTech.io: https://besttech.io/how-to-lead-without-authority-e10036b95958#.5rcq5ycup

Great Work Cultures. (2016, July 27). Learning to Lead Without Authority. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/great-work-cultures/learning-to-lead-without_b_7883062.html

Horwitz, R. (2013, June 11). 9 Ways to Influence Without Authority. Retrieved from HRVoice.org: http://www.hrvoice.org/9-ways-to-influence-without-authority/ 

Project Synopsis Draft #1

Introduction

The interpersonal communication problem being explored is ‘How to lead without authority’. In all workplace context that include hotels, communication is the main form of interaction between people. Leading with authority can bring about unpleasantness in the workplace environment which can sour relationships and teamwork among employees as well because it promotes a definite hierarchical working environment.

According to an interview with a staff at Naumi Liora, the guest relations officer concurred with this idea and commented “He (her senior colleague) doesn’t boss around, he doesn’t put in a way like he is more senior than me. He can lead me to do things without making feel like I am inferior.” She further elaborated that some colleagues tend to have adopted a more authoritative attitude in ordering others to complete certain tasks which made the recipient feel unappreciated.

Judging from the comment above, employees may feel demoralized and unenthusiastic about work due to demands and pressure from the manager. Therefore, it is important for managers to practice leading without authority as it can facilitate communication and cooperation among employees. If done well and correctly, it can help to improve interpersonal communications and promote a healthier working environment.

Workplace Context

The specific workplace context chosen to be the interpersonal communication is in a hotel, where interpersonal communications occur daily, between operation departments internally. The front office and housekeeping managers communicate the most in hotel operations as they have to handle guests’ requests when received and be able to pass down the message to the housekeeping and front desk departments accurately.

Being students of the hospitality industry, choosing the hotel as a workplace context can be more relatable as well. This can also serve as a reminder for all students who may become managers in the future.

Nature of Project’s Professional Importance

In hotels, managers are usually the main contact person for interacting with guests. Behind the counters, the managers are also the middle person in most organizations’ hierarchy, in between the ground staff and higher management. This means that the managers are also the middleman who facilitates communication within the organization. Most employees or subordinates often look upon managers and learn from them through mentoring or coaching. Hence, it is important for managers to set a good example so as to strengthen teamwork and coordination among employees.

Objective and Scope of Study

The objective and scope of the study are to showcase the difference between someone who leads with and someone who leads without authority. There is a need to understand the consequence of leading with authority and how it affects people within the workplace environment. It helps to raise awareness about this issue to prevent such unhappy situation from arising before it results in any interpersonal communication breakdown in a workplace.

The training video will highlight the available alternatives should someone subconsciously lead with authority. While our main target audience is hotel managers, part of the training video hopes to educate subordinates to recognize that their superior is leading with authority and thus identify it as a problem, and not succumb to its negative effects.

Proposed research method

In order to justify the existence of such interpersonal communication problems in the hotel workplace context, there are several proposed data collection/research methods that would be used. Related online articles and academic journals could be used as secondary research sources. As mentioned, an interview on one of Naumi Hotel’s staff would also be used to support the existence of the interpersonal communication problem. There will also be research on existing hotel training videos online to consult on the structure and feel of the video.

Thematic Focus

The project’s thematic focus would be on a training video that showcases three scenarios that happen in a hotel workplace commonly. It involves the interaction between managers and their staff. Bad examples of leading WITH authority would be compared and contrasted with a good example of leading WITHOUT authority for each scenario. This would allow the audience to be able to understand the difference and then learn from the good examples.

The three scenarios are mainly focusing on (1) showing empathy towards your staff; (2) being a listener during daily meetings; and (3) delegating tasks to your staff. The training video will end off with a summary, re-emphasizing the good examples and informing audiences the Dos and Don’ts in order to lead without authority.

Solutions

Solutions suggested for the three potential problems identified include the following:

  1. Showing empathy towards your staff – Managers should be empathetic towards staff, especially newly recruited staff, and guide them along with any mistakes so as to allow them to learn from experiences instead of reprimanding or telling them off for not performing well.
  2. Being a listener during daily meetings –  Managers should always involve staff in daily meetings by asking for suggestions with regards to any issues that arose. In the case of complaints, managers should listen to staff’s explanation before reprimanding them.
  3. Delegating tasks to your staff – Managers should let staff have a say in their work involvement by asking for any volunteers or anyone who are willing to take on the tasks, instead of delegating it to them without asking for their opinions.

Benefits to the workplace

The benefits of studying this topic can allow managers in hotels to learn how to lead without authority. The training video can let managers be aware of the detrimental effects of leading with authority, how it would affect the workplace and then the ways to prevent it from happening.

As operational staff in hotels usually take instructions from managers, it is important for managers to not lead with authority so as to provide a more conducive and supportive environment. The less authoritative operational managers are, the more willing and encourage the staff or subordinates would be to perform well at work. This, in turn, can positively affect the service level of staff and hence benefit the hotels as well in terms of having a good reputation and brand name.

In terms of benefits for staff and managers alike, leading without authority can promote a positive work environment where all staff and managers can contribute towards discussions by giving feedbacks. By doing so, it can allow the hotels to have a healthy communication platform. This is very crucial as communication is part and parcel of every working environment. Having a healthy communication platform can also help to reduce conflicts and improve team dynamics.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the training video hopes to alleviate and prevent the vicious cycle of hotel managers contributing to an unhappy work environment due to their lack of understanding of the detrimental effects of leading their subordinates with authority. This training video hopes to change that mindset and create a better working culture in hotels.

Letter for Service Recovery

Thank you very much for writing into us in regards to your recent stay at [insert resort name]. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us, as we strive to improve with every stay. We are sorry to hear that your stay with us did not meet your expectation.

In your email, you stated that there were a reservation error and inconvenience caused due to the malfunctioned key card. We sincerely apologize for your unpleasant stay at [insert resort name].

Your complaint has inspired us to retrain our check-in staff with the appropriate customer service standards as well as working with our engineering department to ensure our facilities are functioning well at all times.

Please accept our most sincere apologies. We will contact the travel agency on your behalf and get back to you within the next three to five working days. If you have any further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me at this email, or call us at our hotline @ +65 6123 4567. We hope that your next stay with us will better meet our standard excellence.

(175words)

Interpersonal Communication @ Work

One of the interpersonal communication problems that I had faced at work is the communication with guests. Back then when I worked at [insert themepark] as a retail associate, I always meet guests of different nationalities. They could come from all parts of the world, be it China, India, Russia, Japan, Korea and much more. Although English is an internationally known language, not everyone could speak fluently, neither could everyone understand well. Hence, there is always communication barrier between the guests and me.

Being a retail associate in a theme park, we would have to assist guests with all sorts of inquiry with regards to the park. Apart from product knowledge, we would also need to know almost everything about the park, such as directions to different rides, a location of nursing rooms, restrooms, prayer rooms, etc. The most frustrating thing about assisting with guests’ inquiries is that we have language barriers, especially towards Japanese. They could not speak English, neither can I speak Japanese to communicate with them. Therefore, resulting in a communication breakdown and two frustrated people unable to bring their messages across.

Another incident would be my interactions with Indian nationals. They always have a problem understanding the clauses on retail vouchers, even after several explanations. For example, the voucher states “$5 off every $35 spent”. They would always end up wanting to purchase a lot of items but were surprised when we inform them about their total purchase price. In their opinion, the voucher represents $35 off any purchase. Despite multiple explanations to them, they still do not understand the clauses. There were several circumstances where I had to raise my voice at them while they were arguing with me regarding the voucher clauses. At times, there was no choice but to raise my voice especially when you could not put your messages across to them, in addition to the long queue forming up behind them. In my encounters with them, they seem to be unable to understand us most of the times.

What else could I have done to ensure that such problems do not occur again when faced with such situation?

Blogs commented:

  • Hazel
  • Zhixin

Personal branding

Personal branding is how you appear to the world. It is how people think, evaluate and perceive about you without knowing you beforehand. Although we are unable to control how others think of us, we can control how we portray ourselves. There are several ways in which we could manage our personal branding, that includes self-imaging, self-esteem, verbal and non-verbal communications.

Self-imaging is the idea that one has to their abilities, appearance, and personality, which is how I view myself. To me, I have a quiet and shy personality, hence I do not enjoy socializing with people. I like staying in my comfort zone, hanging out with people whom I am close with. However, when needed, I would prefer to listen and get to know people, rather than talking and sharing bits of myself to others. I guess to others, I appear to be friendly, cheerful and approachable as I am always smiling, but in fact, I do not really have a positive personality. I tend to worry a lot and is always pessimistic.

This then links to another part of personal branding – self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to the extent to which we accept or approve of ourselves and how much we value ourselves. It involves a positive or negative evaluation of ourselves. As mentioned earlier, I do not have a positive personality. Hence, I have a low self-esteem especially. Being diffident, I often think of the negative sides of everything beforehand. Perhaps it is how I protect and prepare myself for the worst if anything goes wrong.

Apart from self-imaging and self-esteem, verbal and non-verbal communications also help to portray the first impression of you to others.

Verbal communication is the use of sounds and words to express yourself, in which people rely on in their interaction with families, friends, and co-workers. In terms of verbal communication, I would always make it a habit into put in effort in listening attentively when communicating with anyone, complimenting my sensitive personality. They may be sharing important details about themselves or they might just need a listening ear, hence I would listen and give them my full attention. Besides, it would be rude of me to not pay attention to someone and just zone-out on them.

Lastly, non-verbal communication. It includes facial expressions, the tone, and pitch of our voice, the gestures we make through our body language when communicating with others. It is important to keep in mind that apart from verbal communications, non-verbal communications also play a part in portraying who you are during interactions. People would pay attention to your body language during communications, such as eye contacts, hand gestures and body movements as it aids in giving people an idea of your feelings and emotions during the communication. Therefore, I would also be mindful of my subconscious actions and gestures when talking to someone and maintain eye contact as much as possible.

All in all, there are some things that I would need to brush up and improve on like my self-imaging and self-esteem. It is important to adopt the right self-image and cultivate a good level of self-esteem as it determines how people view me. If I do not view myself well, how would others view of me then? If I do not view myself well, how would others view of me then?