If you haven’t noticed, many managers do not communicate well and do not set an organizational climate where communication within the organization is managed effectively. This isn’t surprising, since a manager who communicates ineffectively and does not encourage effective organizational communication is unlikely to hear about it. Poor communication is self-sustaining because it eliminates an important “feedback loop.” Staff members are loathe to “communicate” their concerns about communication because they do not perceive the manager as receptive.
If you want to improve communication, you will need to ensure that you and your staff have the skills and knowledge necessary to communicate effectively. This may mean formal training is in order, or it may require you to coach staff and provide feedback so that they can improve. You play a critical role in fostering and nurturing a climate that is characterized by open communication. Without this climate, all the skills in the world will be wasted. It’s up to you as the manager to bring communication to the forefront of organization’s attention. If you make the effort to improve communication, your staff will recognize that it is important. If you ignore it, so will your staff.
Here are three more tips to foster an environment of effective communication:
- Look at the impact of the structure of your organization and how it affects communication. Indirect communication (communication that is transferred from person to person) is notorious for causing problems. Look at increasing direct communication where the message is directly communicated from the sender to the receiver.
- Learn about and use active listening techniques where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully. This will set a tone and contribute to a positive communication climate.
- Consider undertaking a communications audit to map out where and how your employees are receiving your messages. This will identify any gaps in your communication process.
Begin to use these tips today for better communication tomorrow.
Source: Robert Bacal is CEO of Bacal & Associates and Work911.com. Bacal & Associates is a “no-frills” training and consulting and keynote speaker company offering services related to performance management and appraisal, dealing with difficult customers, presenting to difficult groups and other communication and team related issues. Work911 is the website devoted to topics on leadership, management, interpersonal communication and conflict.