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COMMUNICATION IN LEADERSHIP AND STAFF JOB PERFORMANCE A STUDY OF NIGERIAN TELEVISION AUTHORITY STATIONS
1.1 Background to the Study
In the ever-growing and changing global economy, organizations try to do everything to remain relevant. One area of concern is Leader effectiveness. In a global environment, good and effective leadership is crucial in the survival of any organization. In other words, the success or failure of the organization depends on the kind of leaders it has.
To lead successfully, managers or leaders need to have credibility and be trusted by other employees or staff under them. It is through communication that leaders develop, generate, cultivate, shape and reshape ideas in an organization. Effective organizational communication becomes paramount to ensure effective leadership since leaders must communicate to accomplish organizational goals. This means that communication is the single most important tool a leader has at his or her disposal to influence employees’ job performance in an organization. Effectiveness in communication is also predicated on a positive communication climate. Adler and Towne(2003,p.369) have argued that “whether it is in the workplace, classroom, or the home, people thrive in communication climates that affirm and support them” and “the climate of a relationship is shaped by the degree to which people believe themselves to be valued by one another”
Wilson, Goodhall, and Waagen as cited in Martin (2005,p.670), see communication from an organizational context as “an evolutionary culturally dependent process of sharing information and creating relationships in environments designed for manageable, goal oriented behaviour. Hence the role of communication in the leadership process can be examined in several ways namely: what is said (the content of communication), how the content is communicated and the way leaders frame their language. All these three roles affect and impact on job satisfaction and performance and other indicators of co-operation in an organization. Communication is a complex process and in order to survive in an organization, a leader must know what the process is and how it works.
Throughout life, the personal, professional and social lives of individuals as well as the culture in which they live is shaped by communication (Wood, 2006). People communicate to “develop identities, establish connections, co-ordinate efforts with others, deepen ties over time and work out problems and possibilities” (Wood, 2007, p.10). The importance of communication in everyday interactions as individuals, families and organizations demands that feelings, needs and ideas must be expressed in ways that are clear, unambiguous and easily understood.
Leadership which is the capacity to influence, inspire, rally, direct, encourage, motivate, induce, move, mobilize and activate others to pursue a common goal or purpose, while maintaining commitment, momentum, confidence and courage is a determinant principle of organizational success. It is the organizing and coordinating of resources, energies and relationships in a productive context for an intended result. In other words, leadership is the managing of managers towards a common goal. It then means that leadership, by its nature, incorporates a clear purpose and vision which inspires, motivates and mobilizes.
Leadership is impossible without a guiding vision and a purpose that generates passion for accomplishment. The vision or guiding purpose is the source from which leadership derives its magnetic field to activate the commitment, co-operation and confidence of others. It derives its power from values, deep convictions and correct principles and is the highest prospect of management.
The Nigerian Television Authority, the largest TV Network in Africa, was set up in May 1977 through Decree 24. It effectively began operation in April 1978. It has been effectively used for shaping, re-shaping and consolidating our national consciousness and unity. Just like Archeologists, the NTA digs up historical information, stored knowledge, expressed in words, sound and visual footages. For effectiveness and good service delivery, the NTA has been decentralized into Nine Network Zones in addition to the Abuja National Headquarters. The aim is to showcase the divergent cultures of the various ethnic groups across Nigeria. This is rooted in the Authority’s vision “to be a world class Television Network in the new world order”. The Zonal Network Centres include: Enugu, Port-harcourt, Benin, Ibadan, Makurdi, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Jos, Kaduna and Abuja. Some of the community stations include those in Benin Network Centre (Iruekpen, Uzairue/Jatu, Okitipupa, Sapele, Ado Ekiti), Enugu Network Centre (Onitsha, Okigwe) Port-harcourt Network Centre (Brass ,Eket).
This is also in line with the Authority’s mission “to provide excellent television service worldwide and project the true African perspective to the rest of the world through good and effective leadership”. In all, the NTA’s overall goal is to inform, educate and entertain viewers worldwide.
The objectives of the NTA as defined in its mission statement include:
- Effective coverage of Nigeria and the International Community
- The broadcast of Internationally acceptable programmes
- Financial autonomy (to survive without Government’s subvention).
Interestingly, NTA has since the country’s return to democratic dispensation become strongly committed to professional ethics –
- Accuracy and credibility of reports
- Balance and objectivity of event coverage
It is also known to be committed to the promotion of national interest, social responsibility and sensitivity to all sections and parties as well as commitment to global peace and development. Since its inception, it has been piloted by various Directors-General with their varied leadership and communication styles.
Historically, leadership of NTA and its stations is laden with complaints and conflicts. It seems staff of the organisation have experienced and witnessed some breakdown in law and order owing to poor leadership occasioned by lack of communication. This perhaps led to a situation where there is a gap in communication which has affected staff job performance. It is not certain the factors responsible for the observed ineffective leadership.
Since communication is one of the important variables that determine the level of leadership performance, it becomes necessary to investigate the influence of communication in leadership and staff job performance in NTA stations.
This work therefore seeks to investigate communication in leadership and staff job performance in select Nigerian Television Authority stations.
- Statement of the Problem
. Given the nature of organizational communication, communication ought to flow vertically and horizontally, while attention is also paid to non-formal channels of information flow with a view to monitoring trends within the organization. These, organization leaders can do through meetings, releasing of memos, suggestion boxes and informal engagements or interactions with staff which could help leaders decipher the mood of the staff and their perception of things within the organization. When organizational leaders do these regularly, the staff feel a sense of belonging and may feel satisfied which could translate to their job performance.
The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is an information organ that has been used to shape, re-shape and consolidate our national consciousness and unity. The Authority prides its over-all goals to include informing, educating and entertaining viewers, thereby reflecting the true African perspective to the rest of the world through good and effective leadership.
There have been alleged cases of people writing letters of complaints through their heads to the higher authorities without any feedback. Where it becomes obvious that there is a strong disagreement between or amongst staff, transfers have been alleged to be used to resolve such differences without adequate consideration of the issues raised by the contending parties. Some staff are said to have resigned because leaders did not address their concern or were perceived by the aggrieved to circumvent due process in dealing with the issues.
From personal experience and interactions with staff of NTA stations, there have been complaints on leadership quality. Complaints such as transfers as a punitive measure, the use of quota system for promotion, favouritism, lack of involvement of staff in decision making, negligence amongst others. Thus, the staff seem to be left in a void as to why their complaints could not be handled. It seems this creates avenues for lukewarmness, poor attitude to work and a feeling of non-satisfaction.
Since communication is one of the important variables that determine the level of leadership performance, it becomes necessary to research into the influence of communication in leadership and staff job performance in Nigeria Television Authority stations. Thus, to what extent did communication in leadership influence the pattern of information flow, strategies used in communication, adequacy of communication and employee perception as a service job performance in Nigerian Television Authority stations which is organized.
- Objectives of the Study
The study sought to:
- identify the dominant leadership communication styles.
- find out the communication strategies used by leaders of NTA Stations in the management of human resources.
- ascertain the adequacy of communication flow in the leadership of NTA Stations.
- ascertain the extent of the application of communication on the core functions of Management of NTA Stations.
- ascertain the adequacy of communication in leadership in terms of message content.
- ascertain the application of communication in the handling of complaints by the leadership of NTA stations.
- find out the perception of staff on the communication strategies of leaders of NTA stations.
- ascertain the influence of the above variables on staff job performance.