Interpersonal Communication Behavior in the Military
Interpersonal Communication Behavior in the Military
A close relationship exists between interpersonal communication behaviour and social psychology Kraus and Fussel (3). This is because the two disciplines talk about the influence of people on others, living within the same environment. According to the two scholars, communication affects how individual members of the society (Kraus and Fussel 3). Like other members of the society, the world expects the military personnel to exhibit diversity since they are multinationals. A good example is, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) group, which comprises people from different countries working together for a common course. They also participate in non-conventional missions like peacekeeping in war-tone countries and in disaster management where they work closely with neighbouring communities to achieve specific objectives. During such operations, people of different cultural background come together and the risk of misunderstanding arising from poor miscommunication is always imminent. However, military officers use their experience and exposure to diverse cultures by using a range of communication methods to convey relevant messages and maintain interpersonal communication. It is worth noting that different societies have unique cultural values, communication styles, standards, conduct and behaviour. These differences can pose communication challenges and hinder harmonic interaction among the parties involved. This paper explores the different interpersonal communication patterns in the American military.
In understanding interpersonal communication behaviour in the military, it is crucial to underscore the role of communication, in any operation to ensure its success. Research indicates that communication has the power to influence the productivity and adequacy of military groups. Additionally, military groups in the NATO operation view communication as the main test, which determines cooperation and successful teamwork. For others, cultural differentiation offers more chances of issues as compared to culturally homogenous teams. Here, there is high possibility of low trust levels and miscommunication (Kraus and Fussel 7). With good communication, teams are likely to achieve set goals regardless of the existing cultural differences. Moreover, with collaboration among military groups, it is possible to overcome communication barriers. This means that the future of team collaborations among military groups will depend on effective interpersonal communication from participants of a specific operation. Thus, it is essential to identify major cases of miscommunication and possible ways of averting such situations before they occur. Generally, the foundation of most societies is characterised by traditions, ethos, conventions, qualities, and behavioural standards, which is influenced by existing law. Therefore, communication requires organizational control and morals.
Control basics, which leaders must adhere to include law of area warfare, measures of behaviour structure and Uniform Code of Military Justice Military Department (5). In other words, military leaders ought to uphold ethical and moral fundamentals, enshrined in the American Constitution, military values and the Declaration of Independence. As a matter of fact, these principles have existed for more than 230 years of history. Because of this, the military has a set of standards of behaviour, which leaders overseeing daily operations have to observe. In the armed forces society, every officer is obliged to respect administrative ethics, in making individual contribution towards excellent operations in the country. The Warrior Ethos explains what officers’ responsibilities are. Military leaders have the power to support the Warrior Ethos, which comes as a result of control, obedience to duty, reasonable decision-making and pride in the legacy of the military. Oftentimes, military officers demonstrate their dedication by performing their duties and remaining subordinate without compensation. For this reason, soldiers’ achievements receive backing from the military, citizens and family relatives. While this is the case, military leaders should also implement quality-based initiatives to improve the welfare of military officers and their family members.
The military values communication initiative by furnishing reason, motivation and heading when working towards the mission of the operation to improve association. It is the role of the department of military mission to empower soldiers for them to support the national security. The military’s code of conduct dictates the objectives of the military in conferring land powers applicable in the 21st century. The code also allows military officers to serve as warriors and instil patriotism for their country. It further ensures that officers uphold a high level of volunteer or culture that is imparted by other senior officers in the military.
Notably, these regulations in military codes target leaders in different levels, including officers, soldiers, non-charged officers, warrant officers and ordinary people to enhance proper execution. In essence, the concern of most leaders is how the military attains its desired goals and objectives. In its entirety, military training imparts officers with skills to produce multifaceted leaders who bear military values and warrior ethos holistically, including statesmanship to administration. Moreover, the military works towards improving its pioneers to enable them confront an array of challenges. Oftentimes, the military unit portrays its leaders as athletes, whose adaptability and physicality show that the US military will support them adapt to equivocal situations. Pentathletes are always flexible, inventive and conscious experts who have an all-round character in everything they do. They are also perfect risk takers who administer, change and lead associations. They have professional training and are always committed to studying, which ensures that they are flexible, compassionate, physically light-footed and self-conscious. Above all, they lead soldiers and ordinary people without hesitation, raise groups and attain the military’s aims and objectives and ensuring that they are dedicated and trusted.
Kraus and Fussel (4) argue that multinational military operations always move along a comfortable space. In addition, there is slow sharing of information in heterogeneous groups because of language differences, which become a barrier coupled with the energy it requires one to adjust to a new environment. Because of differences in dialect, methods, convention, strategies, techniques and methods, result into a slower adjustment process than standard.
The unwillingness of most military colleagues to support mission-identified data with groups from different cultures is always a major hindrance to the progress of the process. In cases where the military does not impart data, there would be enduring group mental models. According to research, social heterogeneity further undermines data-sharing in different groups. This is because of group communication is limited to subjects advocated by allies. Military teams do not engage in excess talk but when they do, they focus on a theme which other officers are well versed with. In most multicultural groups, there is usually minimal examination of elements of communication, which affect the overall behaviour of the team. Consequently, research has put forth a social lens model, which could be helpful in understanding communication issues (Riedel 2-3).
The author also refers to researches done by other scholars like the 2002 survey of Klein and Steel, arguing that social lens model gives a hypothetical understanding on how differences in social orientation could result into communication issues (Riedel 4). Notably, the manner in which we interact with family members and the environment has a strong bearing on the world. From social lens theory, these experiences always have an influence on how people see others in the society. The model puts into consideration other people’s convictions and qualities they uphold, coupled with their personal view and connection with others. In essence, this theory determines a person’s communication responses, thoughts on how the world operates and association with other people in the community. Notably, people from the same country tend to view the world comparatively.
One acquires social lens through daily encounters in life. Since people from comparative societies view the world comparatively, which impacts the choices they make in life. They gain a lens of establishing bonds in the world. With this lens, they understand their societal qualities, convictions and thinking of the society. This thought is paramount as it explains how we understand individual statements, suggestions and motions (Department of the Military 4).
Researchers argue that social lens comprises of different cultural dimensions, through which we understand and interpret our encounters. As long as we embrace the social lens of others, i.e. see their statements, setting and activities, this would improve the level of understanding on what the other passing is putting across. For a long time, the world established associations from an expert-slave relationship, which does not exclude the military in any way.
It is worth noting that a dehumanized atmosphere usually bears several elements and disadvantages since subordinates are always slow, feel excluded from the communication process, they hardly assume ownership, hunger for outcomes, demonstrate their inability to take charge of their conduct, show absence of concern for the military needs, want to be servants and avoid making choices in life. Military leaders always exert their confidence through different approaches like withholding data, since private information is only for seniors and not subordinates officers. They also give direction on what to do and how to do it, maintaining the role of upward and parallel communication and engaging in independent communication with juniors, so that everyone needs their support.
Thus, the communication behaviour of military directors always has impact on communication conduct of their juniors in various ways. Since there is no flow of information, subordinates always feel denied a chance to express what they know to others. In this case, withholding information makes it worthless. This is how effective communication happens in any setting. Subordinates in the military meet the absence of certainty by rejecting new assignments, since military leaders demonstrate lack of trust by always advising them on what to do. By knowing that leaders are in charge of upward and parallel communication, subordinates take little or no interest in the association and no concern. Additionally, suburbanites lack the drive to front new plans since bosses either murder them or forward viable ones on their own. Subordinates also form groups to facilitate flow of information since bosses in the military do not communicate with subordinate groups (Riedel 8).
Because of existing communication issues, military leaders experience challenges in finding consensus within a group. This is because sometimes the situation at hand demands an autonomous decision without debate. Military groups work on choices settled upon progressively through dialogue. Groups are expected to agree and settle issues for better working conditions. In cases where a decision is made without harmony, this could result into internal group conflicts, which could be unresolved. With a workable agreement, a military unit usually has the eagerness to execute new arrangements.
There are five approaches, which the military uses to enhance communication and international behaviour, which is vital in decision-making. Firstly, leaders make clarifications on dialogues within a group. Among others, this verifies the reasonability of the group’s action, its preciseness and relevance with the themes under discussion. When leaders address issues exclusively and systematically, cohesion within military teams comes effortlessly to enhance interpersonal communication. With this, every military group ought to adhere to the group’s subject and seek explanations from leaders to avoid doubts.
Secondly, leaders deal with process statements, which offer details on what goes on in a group. Process proclamations are important as they not only identify with the issues at hand, but also create more room for discussion. Moreover, it factors in the thoughts of other members of the group. Thus, for leaders and group members to understanding and fulfilment, they must articulate issues adequately. Thirdly, it is essential to look at the views of different group members. Nonetheless, a member can only get convinced about their leaders’ willingness to appreciate their views, even when they appear divergent from the ideas of other members of the group. This enhances motivation.
When other people show interest in their views, it builds inner fulfilment in the communication process and satisfaction in conclusions reached during group activities. Fourthly, it is pivotal for leaders to remain open to individual views. This is remains the backbone of effective communication in military circles. In interpersonal behaviour, one has to look out for the opinions of others, without the intention of affecting them Department of the Military (6).
Experts contend that there is need for military group members to modify their positions or agree to be wrong in cases where their views are challenged. No leader should ignore their subordinates as they help seniors to gain practical experience. At all times, military leaders should be role models through open mindedness and avoid being extremely opinionated. Stubborn military bosses command higher respect than emotional ones (Department of Military 3).
The use of pronouns within the military is also another way of dealing with communication challenges. Military groups that adore self-referent statements like ‘I, mine, me and my’ have higher likelihood of failing. On the other hand, military groups that use consensus always remain stable as they embrace group referent expressions like we, our and us. Thus, military leaders should uphold an open culture, which discusses intrapersonal and group behaviour on the basis of the mission and the working together to realize set goals and objectives. They should not impose directives on their juniors to fit their personal experiences in military. Importantly, group members should not only focus on what concerns them but also that which affects other members of the unit.
Department of the Military. Military Leadership. (2007). Web. 20 Sep. 2013. <http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/military/ar600-100.pdf>.
Kraus, R, and S Fussel. Social Psychological Models of Interpersonal Communication. Models of Interpersonal Communication. (2007). Web. 20 Sep. 2013<http://www.columbia.edu/~rmk7/PDF/Comm.pdf>.
Riedel , S. Communication. n. page. Web. 20 Sep. 2013 <http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public//PubFullText/RTO/TR/RTO-TR-HFM-120///TR- HFM-120-06.pdf>.