Archive for the ‘Business Communication’ Category


Quote“In the new context, organizational leaders are willingly, even enthusiastically, followed not because of unconscious attachments (although these never fully disappear) but because they are good role models who articulate meaningful purpose, are transparent in their communications, encourage dialogue and truth-telling, and treat people as colleagues, collaborators rather than subordinates” (Maccoby, 2007, p. 14).

Leaders are composed of people of character who have influence to motivate other people regardless of ranks or status into action towards the common good. In the organizational hierarchy they sit in established positions that allow them to function with powers to influence others towards the directions the company has to make.  Structurally, as to the authority and function they hold, leaders are identified as the frontline supervisors, middle managers and top executives of the company.

Leadership is a social construct, it is meaningful to people in various ways, as people may differ in their perspective about leadership. However, leadership comes in human form, in the bodies of the leaders who demonstrate significant traits that people in turn attribute to leadership. Character, power, authority, influence, action, following, position, and mind and vision are eight key concepts that most people commonly associate to leadership:

  1. Leaders are people of character – they are persons with individual intricacies, peculiar traits, values and virtues. They are humans as anyone else capable of feeling and expressing their emotions, and they too have inequities. They are creatures of habit, which people identify with aside from what can be perceived from their physical attributes. They operate according to the standards they ascribed to and so weigh things out according to the worth they give them. They are expected to demonstrate positive character according to the norms of social behavior; with integrity, honesty, credibility, trustworthiness, justice and professionalism.
  2. Leaders have power at their disposal– the leaders’ power may be proscribed, ascribed or prescribed. In management, power is the potential to allocate resources and to make and enforce decisions (Harvard Business Essentials, 2005). This potential to manage resources and compel people to action to meet organizational goals is primarily warranted by the authority that goes with the leader’s functions. Such power is prescribed by the policy and the virtue of the position in the organizational hierarchy. The other source of power is ascribed, and this comes from what the followers risk and put at stake and given to their leader. The third source of power is proscribed, and this does not really need authority or position, but it exerts influence over other people because the leader’s virtue, wisdom and personality.
  3. Leaders are figures of authority – leaders are images and they have images to maintain to be functional in their position. People follow and have need for leaders because the images of the parents who keep control and assert authority over their children are transferred on them (Lipman-Blumen, 2005). Followers pattern their behavior as to that of their leaders who become their role models. As figures of authority, with prescribed power, they have control over people under their position. The leaders’ image is reflective of their character, habits and worldviews. Followers configure the image of their leaders as to what the latter demonstrates to them, and with whatever they are knowledgeable of their leaders.
  4. Leaders have influence – leaders work with people whom they need to motivate, and only those who can motivate without coercion have potential influence. Influence is not forced on a group of people, rather the people look up to the leaders as a resource person who value human relationships and add value to their people (Maxwell, 2009). Leaders use their power to change behavior or attitudes, without exerting force, compulsion or direct command; it is a two-way process where the leader allows the influence of others to influence them (Harvard Business Essentials, 2005).  Ideally, leaders with great influence are the types of institutional managers who use power in the most effective and ethical way to achieve organization goals while working well with and charismatically motivating others.
  5. Leaders act and enable others to act – leaders are responsible as sources or agents of something; they have initiative and commitment to act even without the guidance of a superior (Williams, 2005). As catalyst of change, they labor by both thinking and doing to enable others to act. They are role models in their decisions and actions. They lead by example, a good example in their thoughts, words and deeds. To achieve something, they need to do something. Upon taking some time to think, reflect and plan their actions, they roll their sleeves and get things done according to the plans. They don’t stay inert or passive, instead they think proactively by working together with others to achieve their aims.
  6. Leaders are followed by people – Leaders are not leaders at all without followers; that is when they cannot motivate people to act. The subordinates of a leader may do things as expected because of their own commitment to their work functions and positions, but not necessarily because of the influence of the leader. People follow leaders because of transference which is a psychological concept pertaining to the ideation of parental figures and a better character (Maccoby, 2007; Lipman-Blumen, 2005).  When leaders fail to meet the expectations of either of their superior or their subordinates, they lose following.Because people look up to the leaders they follow, leaders should maintain their character and hold responsbility and accountability over their positions.
  7. Leaders function according to their position – in their position, leaders are instruments of power, with authority to use that to achieve organizational goals; they assess situations to resolve existing problems (Williams, 2005).  The power to lead goes with the position, but that power serves the purpose of allocating resources and to enforce decisions, but the success of the leader in his position depends on others (Harvard Business Essentials, 2005).  Positions place managers to lead people, they subscribe to the tasks defined and authorized for them. However, to function effectively in their position they need to develop the right bonds and relationships and to persuade others.
  8. Leaders have both mind and vision – Most successful leaders have inner motivations for growth and development with others in their mind, and power orientation characterized of being fair, just, democratic, yet they see themselves as a source of power – as institutional leaders (Burnham, 2002).  The mind of an institutional leader reflects that of a winner’s mindset, that is putting others in winning position equal to that of the leaders themselves. Leaders are highly effective people who know themselves and see the bigger picture of what they want to achieve, as they begin with the end in mind and seek to inspire others with their voice (Covey, 2004).

Character, power, authority, influence, action, following, and position are key concepts associated with people’s constructs of leadership. But leadership is contextualized, that one leader of a field, department, organization or industry may not be as good as he or she is in another place and time. Michael Maccoby’s assertions on contextualized leadership emphasize the need to reflect on how we come to understand the concept of leadership that influences us to act on our function as a leader and as a follower (2007). That, in the fast moving and dynamic changes in the socio-cultural milieus we experience, we can adapt to the leadership challenge.

 

Readings:

Burnham, D. H. (2002). Inside the Mind of the World Class Leader. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Burnhamrosen.com: http://www.burnhamrosen.com/articles/Inside_the_Mind.pdf

Covey, S. R. (2004). 8th Habit of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press.

Harvard Business Essentials. (2005). Power, Influence and Persuasion. Boston: Harvard University.

Lipman-Blumen, J. (2005). The Allure of Toxic Leaders. Oxfor, NY: Oxford University Press.

Maccoby, M. (2007). The leaders we need, and what makes us follow. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Maxwell, J. C. (2009). The Gift of Leadership (Book 2). Manila, Philippines: Salt & Light Ventures Inc.

Williams, D. (2005). Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face their Toughest Challenges. San Francisco, CA: Berret-Koehler Publishers.


What gets in the mouth is good, it is what gets out of it that can be evil.

Politics is a sphere that extends in the social world and which affects the psyche of an individual or groups. While politics is exercised in terms of power relations among individuals or groups, language plays in that communication of power and in the position of individuals in a social relationship.

The nominative function of language gives us an awareness of an existence, identity or attribute of beings in our social world. The performative function of language allows us to share meanings to the language or words that we use to refer to something, but these meanings that we intend to share are not exactly received and constructed by others as we expected them to be.

We understand things through language. We associate meanings to language through language. We add knowledge to the existing known things through language. We define who we are and who others are to us through language. In a system of deferral we create the world we live in and the realities in our lives through language. We are constructed with that system of the very language we use to identify ourselves.

The man-woman question represents the apostasy of humanity to mutually live in harmony. More so is the pejorative use of language to castrate individuals of their right to be identified as they wanted to be. These then puts language use in a political challenge, so we have terms that are politically correct and incorrect.

Language is socially agreed upon and understood by the individuals or groups sharing its use. The words and the meanings that go with every word become part of a culture’s lexicon and so it represents then for others an understanding of the culture of people using that language. As language is finite at a certain time, by deferral one is led to understand the deeper structures of a culture’s mind, wthin its limitations.

But language is generative, there are some terms that people find pejorative to be acceptable later on.  As it is generative, it can also be exclusive or inclusive. To a group of people, a term may be derogatory and so politically incorrect. We fail to understand people and so we subject them to remain powerless when we use pejorative terms that inflicts on thier identity.

For black people, they would not prefer to be called by people of other colors as negroes. The terms carries with it a historical stigma of the slavery and abuse of their rights as human beings.  They may be calling each other nigger or niggah, but that is performing an exclusive function of language that works for them to identify with each other.

Faggot is derogatory for many gays. Homo is not a casual term as well that they would accept. But then it depends on how it is said and said by whom. Between gays they may be using these in casual conversations, but of course they would not expect or prefer others to be yanking that word to their face, if it is coming from a chauvinist pig. Watch this video on how language is socially manipulated to affect power relations and soical interactions between people http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s13e12-the-f-word

In the Filipino language, bading is a more obvious acceptable and preferred term rather than bakla. Binabae which others refer to as iffeminate, suggest a weakness and incompleteness. Other terms that generate and used inclusively are vaklush, badingerzhi, and badaf or badafchina to refer to the same bakla. Girlalu and girlash  are terms interchangeably used to refer to girls and also Filipino gays. Pamin or paminta are terms interchanged with silahis or silahista to refer to discreet gays and self-proclaimed ‘bisexuals’.

The same case of identifying through language is how deaf poeple would like to be called Deaf with a capital D. As they associate with others they approve more of those who prefer to identify them as Deaf. They believe that having that hearing impairment does not make them any one lesser than others, in fact they do more with such inability to hear. Anyone would like to be identiified as a person and not through any disability.

We used to call people with neurological disorders or psychotic illnesses, psycho or pscyhopath, sometimes crazy or weird. The last two are lighter than be branded as pscyho. What is socially acceptable and politically correct is to refer to them as people or person with such illness (person with psychosis and not psychotic, or person with neurosis and not neurotic). A person is always different from his illness.

In the 1990s, Filipinos where outraged by Oxford’s inclusion of the word Filipina to refer to housemaids who migrated from the Philippines. With this attempt was the inclusion of the term imeldific to refer to grandeous and pompous lifestyle. Imelda Marcos approved of the latter as it signfies to her a prestige, but for the Filipinos the reference of the Filipina as a housemaid is a malicious imputation.

Societies demand propriety in using language. It is not to be abused or used wrongly to malign people, put them in bad light bywrongly identifying them with their illnesses, assumed inability, presumed difference from the norm and many other biases that could stereotype anyone. For all we know, we are all different, and the normal thing that we believe is but our construction of a reality that we created through language.

Language use is different from one culture to another. It is always considerable to adapt one’s use of language to the audience or others who are listening or reading one’s use of language. It is ethical to be mindful in using the language and preferring politically correct terms. In this way the speaker or the writer can win others approval.

The use of politically correct terms are not reserved for the political, but is an expected social behavior. People who understand the subtleties, complexities and implication of language use can expect to be always in social accord with anyone or any group. Simply because it is in that proper use of language that one builds social relationships. The latter may not demand to fill the other’s ears with flowery words, because beyond euphemism, consideration and courtesy will be enough.


Writing is a form of communication that utilizes language to deliver an intended message to particular readers within a context. As a form of communication both technical and literary writing consist of source, content, channel, audience and context. They differ in their characteristics and indicators of those elements in practice or operation.

Technical writers are different from poets or authors of literary works in terms of  their interest, purpose and style of writing. They both have writing expertise to be appreciated by their readers, but they are limited in their style as dictated by the nature of the material they create. Technical writers also need some creativity to go with their logic and knowledge expertise about technical subjects.

Technical writing in the surface is non-fiction writing. But not all non-fiction manuscripts are considered technical documents. Literature has in its genres both fiction and non-fiction.  Unlike the wide circulation of literary fiction that caters to general readers, technical writing targets specific audience. The readers of technical writing are those mostly interested on technical subjects. They include experts, professionals, field practitioners and the academics.

Technical writers generally aim to inform or persuade their readers to do some action upon reading the technical document. On the other hand, literary writers inspire and entertain with some commitment to inform or stimulate the readers’ emotions. To illustrate, an essay on climate change may stimulate and stir the audience to do some action for the environment, yet it is still literary. A technical report on climate change will have more details to inform the reader about the problem’s causes, implications and specific mitigation schemes. The same topic on climate change can be presented freely in the various genres of literary writing.

The difference between technical and literary writing lies heavily on its use of language and style of presenting information as required for specific formats. While literary writing can be informal and personal, technical writing is strict to being formal and impersonal in tone and voice. Literary writing would be prosaic or verbose, but technical writing will use the language in a straightforward manner and present the ideas with conciseness or brevity.

Literary writing is humanistic that it allows for creative expression or aesthetics. Technical writing is conventional and adheres to formats and standards in presenting empirical information. Humanism rules literary writing, while technical writing is held by the logic and determinism of scientific writing which is richly engrained in the philosophy of empiricism. Humanism is liberal which looks at life as a subject for literary writing. Empiricism is rigidly objective that it looks at things in life as objects for technical writing.

Another distinctive trait of technical writing from literary writing aside from its purpose, format, language and style, is the choice of subject. Some experts reduce the definition of technical writing to writing about technical subjects. They also think that those technical subjects are limited to science and technology. Since most technical documents that circulate are about technical topics, the idea that technical writing is about science and technology came into surface. In practice, technical writing can be about anything and everything, but it is treated and presented in a technical manner.

Technical writing can be lucrative career, especially in this era where knowledge online is highly valued as a resource. In business and in the academe technical writing is highly valued not for mere appreciation or critiquing because it allows for the continuous transmission of essential information needed in organizational decision-making processes. Literary writing is also a career and can be lucrative as well, and it is also valuable to enrich our life and culture. However, the value of technical writing manifest in many practical and functional ways, that it is indeed necessary to our daily lives.

Historically, technical writing is much younger than the literary writing which has been in the world ever since men learned to use language as symbols for meaning making. The need for technical writing has evolved in the introduction of more modern technologies from the progress that science and engineering made. Because people need to be informed and instructed in the use and manufacture of the tools that man invents, technical writing provides the means to transmit and distribute those vital knowledge. Nowadays, online technology is evidently used in delivering those technical information.