This is a guest post by Linda Finkle on communication and the importance of making changes as your organization grows. – TCW
Conversational Leadership: Practice It, Use It, Own It
By Linda Finkle
Communication problems in the workplace are inevitable. As organizations grow, communication can become harder. With only a handful of employees, you could conduct staff meetings spontaneously by simply rolling your chairs around the table. However, as you grow an have many employees occupying different departments or areas, you can no longer use this simple campfire style.
You can craft a strategic information dissemination plan to eliminate communication gaps across your organization. Remember, the longer information remains at the top and doesn’t go up or down — from CEO to employees and vice versa, the more your organization will suffer. Poor communication will hamper organizational growth and efficiency and communication problems will rise.
Experts classify good organizational communication as including the following:
Intimacy (Yes, intimacy!)
Multinational companies have offices and people working at vast distances from the other. While your company may not always have physical proximity, you can inculcate a culture of trust despite the distances. Virtual meetings can be effective as long as you communicate the mission, vision, and goals effectively. As an owner or executive manager, you are a member of the leadership team. To build a good level of intimacy, you must listen sincerely to what your employees have to say. When you build in systems to push information from the top and pull information from the bottom — in terms of hierarchical structure — you prevent communication problems in the workplace.
Communication is a two-way street. If it is just you talking, then it is a monologue, not communication. As a leader, you must talk and listen to ensure you hear and understand the other person. People want to be heard and your employees are no different. If what the person you talk to says has no impact on you, then you are not communicating.
If your company is larger, it may have a much harder time installing interactivity. However, with technology’s help, even multinational companies with offices on different continents can interact effectively. Your company can use the rise in the use of social media tools to mimic personal, face-to-face communication through online video messaging, video chat and social sites like Twitter and Facebook. These high tech tools can work extremely well in helping you eliminate communication problems in the workplace.
Effective communication provides every member of the organization with a voice to be heard. Inclusion allows people to speak authentically about your company, its business and what they do for the company. Overuse of corporate jargon and reliance on highly themed marketing messages can inhibit genuine conversations. Refrain as much as possible from filtering information. Allow information to reach its listeners in the most organic way possible, like a sincere conversation with a friend.
Intention is a major component of effective communication. As a leader you must ensure that you convey your agenda and purpose to your listeners. No blathering on. Speaking with a purpose in mind will help you achieve desired results.
Talk to your employees with compassion, inclusion, intentionality and interactivity. By doing so, you will prevent many of the communication problems that can exist in the workplace and strengthen team morale and productivity.
? 2013 Incedo Group, LLC