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Use and Develop Systems that Promote Communication

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1.1Review the range of groups and individuals whose communication needs must be addressed in their own job role. Within a social care setting it is essential as a manager to communicate effectively as predominantly therapeutic interactions occur with vulnerable people and their families and with staff and visitors and often they may be experiencing difficult and challenging personal situations making the need for us to be excellent communicators even greater. Interpersonal skills are those skills that enable us to interact with another person, allowing us to communicate successfully with them. Good communication skills are vital for team leaders/managers in health and social care as it helps develop positive relationships with people using services and their families and friends, so they we can meet their holistic needs.

In my role I must develop positive relationships with work colleagues and other professionals, share information with people using the services, by providing and receiving information and report on the work they do with people. My role must promote effective communication ensuring that people I interact with are put at ease and feel that they can freely communicate their concerns and needs and my aim is to ensure that they leave the interaction feeling better than they did initially. When communicating with a person whether it is professional or personal when that interaction is made a relationship is formed. As Health professionals we need to make sure that the relationships that are formed are appropriate and we do this by following a code of professional conduct in Wales the Care council for Wales code of practice is followed, in England the General Social care Council guidelines for professional conduct and inclusion Care professional code of conduct a company policy is also in place to ensure interaction is appropriate.

Within my job role there are various groups of individuals that I communicate with and it varies from one-to-one interactions such as the clients I support to the supervision of staff. It ranges from formal to informal interactions of varying degrees, between colleagues, between professional and people using services, communication with professionals, multi-agency working, multi-professional working to group interactions such as team meetings and care reviews. I am required to communicate in a variety of different methods such as training, supervision the undertaking of assessments the planning and writing of reports, communication books staff update via email. As a team leader you are responsible for the effective interaction with a diverse group of people meaning that a wide range of communication skills are required and that they are highly dependent upon the context in which the communication takes place.

An example of this could be information is delivered in a very factual manner to a young child or vulnerable person and in doing so may be wholly inappropriate when really they required an empathic response to a problem (Tilmouth, T and Qualington, J, 2012). It is imperative to use a range of communication skills that allow you to successfully listen disseminate information, deliver information, use questioning to clarify, take written notes and formulate responses (Caplin et al, 2012). Varying communicative interactions within my role would require a different response for example a one to one interaction would be handled in a way very differently to a group interaction as in a one to one situation the person you are about to communicate may feel anxious about that interaction so careful questions may be asked to put that person at ease. Another example may be that if I were dealing with a member of a multidisciplinary team I would make my interaction more formal and factual which too would be appropriate.

Formal conversation is often used when a professional person, such as a health or social care worker, speaks to someone using a service. It is clear, correct and avoids misunderstanding. Communication with a manager is usually formal. A manager is usually more distant from those they manage so that if they need to, for example, issue a formal warning to someone, it is less awkward for both parties than if they are friends. Group communication is harder because it only works properly if everyone is able to be involved. In most groups there are people who speak a lot and others who speak rarely, if at all, because they feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a group of people or they are just not interested. Groups work best if there is a team leader who encourages everyone to have a say in turn, rather than everyone trying to speak at once.

When working in groups our style of interaction may change to accommodate the different group dynamics research by Bales and Freed (1999) identified three main structure interactions in groups Dominance/submission. Is this member active, outgoing, and talkative – or passive, quiet and introverted? Friendliness/unfriendliness. Is this member warm, open and positive – or negative and irritable? Acceptance of authority/non-acceptance of authority. Is this member analytical, and task-oriented – or emotional, untraditional and (possibly) resentful. (Forsyth 2006: 41). Therefore the interaction within a staff team meeting can be complex and must be understood by the team leader to achieve the desired outcome within that group interaction.

In conclusion we as managers must assess each interaction whether it is in a group or individually and communicate appropriately and effectively within our job role.

1.2 How communication affects relationships in the work setting Good professional relationships must be built with good communication trust and respect. In my job role as a senior support worker I show the staff that I am honest and trustworthy and am committed to working in their best interests and this also applies to my relationship to the client that I support. As a team we have to respect the expertise of others and value people’s contribution and this is reflected when working alongside a multidisciplinary team and also during team meeting where staff are encouraged to brainstorm any ideas that may improve the service we deliver, team meeting minutes. Below are the key pointers to effective working relationships To be respectful of other peoples expertise

Learn from the knowledge and skills of others
To communicate in an open and honest manner
To ensure the workload is fair
Share your knowledge in a kind manner to help others
If you don’t know something ask
Follow procedure for decision making and dealing with conflicts Ensure good timekeeping when attending team meetings/reviews Have all the information on hand when liaising with the multidisciplinary team so that they are well informed. In our role we communicate effectively by regular ream meetings, shift handovers, client documentation such as daily client care, observation sheets and the communication book. In some circumstances when a conversation you feel needs to be documented a contact sheet is to be done and sent into head office.

In the three stages of interaction it’s important to ensure communication is positive in stage 1 is aware of body language this is the introduction stage where both parties decide what that are bringing to the discussion. Stage 2 usually contains the bulk of the information, it is essential active listening skills are used here. Stage 3 Positive reflection ensures that all participants of the interaction feel that the interaction was worthwhile, if not possible at the time take a break and then return to the interaction to end positively (Tilmouth and Qualington, 2012). In my job role I am required to effectively communicate in a variety of roles which could be Informing

To be a successful and effective communicator in management and leadership you need to be able to make appropriate choices when it comes to deciding how you intend to interact and be clear about the purpose of the interaction (Tilmouth and Qualington, 2012).

1.3 Having looked at the varying types of communication interactions and the process that defines communication I am going to analyze the barriers and challenges to communication within my own job role. Bazler Riley, 2008 states:

“Communication involves the reciprocal process in which messages are sent and received between two or more people” Very often factors occur causing barriers to communication means that understanding of the message is lost this can often cause distress and conflict and confusion and what the person receives in the communication is not what was originally intended. Below are some barriers to communication that may occur in my job role. Environmental factors such as noise, heat/cold/inappropriate environment. When communicating we need to assess the environment in which we intend the interaction is going to take place to ensure it is suitable for example you wouldn’t conduct a supervision with a staff member in a staff room that had regular visitors coming and going and was noisy and had no privacy.

Differences in cultures – in health work we talk extensively about equality and diversity and how it is essential that we respect the differences people have regarding their culture and values and this can impact on our ability to communicate.

Negative feelings about the person you are speaking or getting upset about what they are saying/previous conflict- Very often when people communicate with someone they have an issue with their words will say one thing and their body language say something completely different and this can have a negative impact on the interaction and can cause conflict. Argyle (1978) identified that non verbal communication can have 5 times the impact on someone’s words spoken.

Physiological factors such as tiredness and feeling unwell, sensory impairment.

Not listening effectively- when a person is listening they give off certain cues and if the speaker does not pick up on these cues they may feel that they are not being taken seriously or listened to. Active listening skills benefit an interaction by the listener acknowledging and reflecting feelings, restating, paraphrasing and questioning and using positive body language.

Personal difficulties- a person’s mood can have a huge impact on an interaction for example if a manager comes in slams the door and is giving off body language suggesting a bad mood a staff member who really needed to speak to them may decide not to pursue an interaction.

To ensure that the above barriers to communication do not occur as a manager I must ensure that when important information is to be exchanged it is done within a suitable environment, that I ensure that personal difficulties do not come into the work place. I must actively promote equality and diversity, use active listening skills, be aware of my body language and be approachable.

1.5 Use different types of communication to meet different needs. When communicating with staff verbal communication is generally used but at times I may need to be able to communicate something that I sdo not want the client to be aware of in this instance I could use a facial expression or sign that I know that the other staff member would understand. People when they have communication difficulties can use a variety of communication methiods. E.g. language, British Sign Language, Makaton, Braille, the use of signs, symbols, pictures and writing; Objects of reference, finger spelling, communication passports, human and technological aids can be used. One of the client I support uses a lightwrighter, non verbal communication and written to communicate their needs. Contexts: one-to-one; groups

E.g. supervision of staff, formal, informal, between colleagues, between professional and people using services, communication with professionals, multi-agency working, multi-professional working. Communication: forms, e.g. Textual, written, oral, signing, symbols, touch, music and drama, objects of reference, arts and crafts, technology Interpersonal interaction: types, e.g. speech, language (first language, dialect, slang, jargon), non-verbal (Posture, facial expression, touch, silence, proximity, reflective listening).


Smith, Mark K. (2008) ‘Robert Freed Bales, group observation and interaction processes’, the encyclopaedia of informal education. [http://infed.org/mobi/robert-freed-bales-group-observation-and-interaction-processes/. Retrieved: 14/01/2014

Retrieved 14/01/14
Tilmouth, T, Qualington, J (2012) ‘Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services. Hachette UK.
Document-library/Standards/codes-of-practice/Codesofpracticeforsocialcareworkers-wordversion.doc. http://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Search-Results.aspx?search_keywords=gscc+code

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