Original Research

Managers’ listening skills, feedback skills and ability to deal with interference: A subordinate perspective

Mpumelelo Longweni, Japie Kroon
Acta Commercii | Vol 18, No 1 | a533 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v18i1.533 | © 2018 Mpumelelo Longweni, Japie Kroon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 August 2017 | Published: 20 June 2018

About the author(s)

Mpumelelo Longweni, WorkWell: Research Unit for Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, South Africa
Japie Kroon, WorkWell: Research Unit for Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Active listening is the single most important contributor to effective communication by managers; however, this is the skill they seem to struggle with the most. Other important skills for effective communication include feedback and the ability to deal with interference.

Research purpose: This study’s primary objective was to determine the effectiveness of managers’ listening and feedback skills and their ability to deal with interference during the listening and feedback phases of the communication process as perceived by subordinates with varying educational backgrounds.

Motivation for the study: The aim was to improve managers’ communication with their subordinates.

Research design, approach and method: The research followed a quantitative descriptive design. A self-administered questionnaire was compiled, a non-probability convenience sample was chosen and 931 usable responses were acquired.

Main findings: The results showed that subordinates perceived their managers’ communication competencies to be marginally above average. Managers’ listening and feedback skills were perceived to be better by graduate-level subordinates than by those with only a Grade 12 qualification. Subordinates with a postgraduate degree also had better perceptions of these skills than those with a Grade 12 qualification, although this finding was not statistically significant.

Practical and managerial implications: Managers need to be aware that their communication competencies are crucial to their business’s success. Additionally, their subordinates’ perception of the effectiveness of their communication varies according to varying educational levels. Therefore, managers are advised to consciously make greater efforts in their communication with subordinates with lower qualifications.

Contribution or value-add: In conclusion, this article will make managers more knowledgeable about potential challenges they may encounter during the communication process regarding listening skills, feedback skills and propensity to deal with interference.


Keywords

managerial competencies; communication; listening skills; feedback skills; ability to deal with interference during the listening and feedback phases; educational levels

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