An oft heard concern I get from the work floor concerns the quality and quantity of communication from above. Many claim that company leaders only pay lip service to open communication. Others contend that what little communication comes around only does so in the form of bulletins or memos. Still others cite only receiving vague instructions that are puzzling to follow. If this is what’s going on in your business, you risk increased turnover, absenteeism, tension and decreased productivity, innovation and customer service…everything that your business success relies on.
There are many ways that leaders can improve internal communication. Here are 7 tips to up your game:
- Know that communication is a 2 – way street. It involves giving information as well as getting feedback from your team. It is not finished when information is given.
- Focus on face to face communication. Do not rely mainly on emails, bulletin boards or memos.
- Ask yourself if you are being clear. Most vagueness is caused by not being specific.
- View information as “service to” your team and not “power over” them.
- Listen to your team. Show respect when they speak. They’ll feel valued and will likely be more dedicated and productive.
- Don’t just talk about an open-door policy. Live it by walking around now and again talking to your team.
- Carry out one to one meetings on a regular basis with direct reports. Ask how it is that you can help them do a better job. Share with them too, how they can help you do a better job.
The bottom line is that you want to build credibility with your team. Not having credibility lowers trust others will feel towards you, and your “openness” won’t be believed, no matter how hard you try. So get out there and communicate honestly and regularly…and really listen.