I figured that a post about increasing leadership communication would best be started with an anecdote of a proven technique that drives employee effectiveness and eliminates ambiguity in the workplace. I spent the better part of the morning seeking out a story like that... Instead, what I found were examples of poor communication that read like Dilbert comics.
As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks.
Imagine receiving this memo and how frustrating it would be to deal with a leader who communicates poorly and seems so oblivious to common sense. i4cp has already established that the best way to kill a team is by cutting off communication, but increasing communication only matters if the messages are clear and consistent. In fact, i4cp has identified 25 KPIs that drive market performance and confirmed that leadership communication is extremely important. So what can leaders do to increase communication?
Effective leaders build trust and, therefore, employee engagement. High-performance organizations expect managers to keep promises, involve people of all levels in important decision-making, distribute work equitably, and demonstrate concern. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to maintain a policy of open upward communication. Making sure that subordinates feel able to speak up when communication is unclear or lacking can help leaders learn the gaps in their management techniques.
Support upward communication
Leaders in high-performance organizations are 2x more likely than low-performers to be seen as good communicators, according to The People-Profit Chain™ from i4cp. But how are leaders supposed to know if they are communicating well--or enough? HR needs to make sure that leaders are asking for feedback and responding to suggestions in good faith as well. Communication is not an inherent skill; it must be learned and developed over time. Leaders must remain open to constructive criticism and welcome outside advice to improve.
Encourage employee feedback
Being receptive to criticism is one thing, but acting on it is another. Aligning leaders with the company culture is critical in creating an environment where employees feel valued and confident in the leadership. The primary outcome of effective leadership communication is a highly engaged workforce; arming managers with the foundations they need to be effective--make choices, formulate strategies, and set policies--will increase the likelihood that employees stay productive.
Create a welcoming culture
Leadership communication is the oil that keeps the business machine operating smoothly; if it is unclear--or worse, nonexistent--the machine will grind to a halt. To regularly receive new insights into topics like leadership communication and market performance (and keep your business machine operating at peak performance), subscribe to i4cp's eNewsletter, TrendWatcher.