Creating a Culture of Communication in the Workplace
Critical to ensure employee performance and positive team dynamics, efficient communications don’t come easily to all, which explains why it can be such a sensitive topic for leaders. Establishing a clear communication strategy is the first step but managers have a role to play to create a true culture of communication in the workplace.
On our Elevate Business podcast, Michael Jansen put it this way: you’re the boss but your job is to enable your staff’ success.
Effective workplace communications can bring people together and get them to stand behind a shared goal and vision. It’s the glue that makes a team stick.
On the other hand, underperforming workplace communications can bring teams to fall apart.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to set the example, whether when dealing with a single individual or an entire team. It is also your responsibility to ensure your team has the resources and the know-how to operate in a concerted way.
Now More Than Ever
In a context where staff are working remotely, proper communication is even more important.
Teams need to know what to expect. What communication channels are being used? How often can they expect to hear from supervisors and management? When, how and where can they access the information they need?
In highly collaborative virtual or hybrid environments, leaders should reflect expectations and obligations through programs and informational tools that allow staff to perform tasks with ease, even when located outside of the physical workplace or collaborating with other staff based elsewhere.
According to a McKinsey survey on the future of hybrid work, the companies supporting small connections between colleagues were the ones enjoying higher productivity levels during the pandemic.
Virtually onboarding new hires are good opportunities to test out an internal communication strategy. If new staff can easily find answers to their questions and start developing relationships with their teammates, chances are that you’re on the right track.
Strong Leader, Strong Communicator
Strong leaders know to communicate regularly with their teams, sharing relevant if not short and simple information. They make a point to maintain communication, even when there is not a lot to say.
Strong leaders know to communicate with integrity. Being honest doesn’t mean sharing everything. It means being able to say that a given information is too sensitive to be shared. It means being able to explain the facts as they are. Everyone may not agree but they will understand and will respect you for it.
Strong leaders know to communicate clearly. A clear message is one that is presented in such a way that it is impactful and easy to understand, and that cannot lead to interpretation.
With this being said, a good communicator is nothing if no one is listening.
Instilling A Culture of Communication
Strong teams seek to understand and rely on transparent and open communications. Employees feeling misinformed will tend to question and disagree with decisions, leaving them dubious and disengaged and resulting in a divide amongst team members.
Ultimately, this will affect employee satisfaction and retention, recruitment, and overall organizational performance.
A good communicator knows to listen and to create a space where people feel comfortable sharing, expressing their ideas, and even questioning other viewpoints.
Working with our clients, we’ve observed the challenges they face in fostering an environment that is conducive to regular, productive, meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations and communications.
These typically emerge as a result of a deficient communication strategy, a lack of awareness on the part of management or a need to develop leadership skills further. Even when personality conflicts arise between individual team members, managers should be able to quickly spot the situation and take action.