Jun 10, 2013
Full Time Boss, Part Time Communicator
Time for a memo again.
Calling all employees, please see the attached memo that will communicate all good, bad and ugly for the past quarter. Now do what I say and no one will get hurt. Perhaps we will even sell something to someone.
Ready – Break (Best NFL Huddle Impression)
Once sent I return to my turret where I will have important meeting with important people because that is what executives do.
We Know Communication is More than That But…
For both of our sakes I am going to assume your disdain and disagreement at the idiocy of such leadership. However, I will not for a moment disregard it as something many leaders do not do.
As your organization grows and you have more and more employees and customers to serve, time will become increasingly limited.
This often leads to filtered messages being delivered through the channel to the organization.
And before I proceed, let me say that this is completely understandable. Time is a precious and fixed resource, so as a company grows your use of time has to be wise.
However, if you asked me what the biggest difference between high performing organizations with strong cultures and lower performing organizations with weaker cultures I would have attribute the gap to one thing more than anything else.
In companies where people are performing harmoniously and working toward common goals you will almost always find highly engaged management from the front line to the C-Suite.
Communicate With Purpose
Because time is such a valuable resource communicating with purpose is really important. I’m a big proponent of getting to the point.
Having said that, communication in many forms does have purpose.
For instance, a CEO or Executive talking to front line or rank and file workers may seem like nothing more than charity or political. But when done with purpose, say to gain a genuine understanding of what is happening day-to-day in an organization is done, that is when progress begins.
A leader connecting to the people only through top down directives being sent on their behalf by a secretary hardly serves that purpose. In fact, if they even get read they become water cooler fodder and hostility generators. Yielding commentary like…
“That guy is so disconnected,” or “She couldn’t be more clueless if she never came to the office.”
That is because a filtered approach to communication leads to a filtered response to management. The further down the line that the communication goes the less clarity that comes back.
When the walls are broken down and the levels are able to communicate without the pyramid clarity is gained and morale is built.
A Better Approach to Communication
There is a time and place for communication from the top down and moreover from leadership to all.
In fact, the quarterly memo would be fine if that didn’t represent the entire communication strategy. The problem is all too often the leaders remove themselves too much from the required communication to build happier customers and more satisfied employees.
Try this instead
Whether your organization has 5 people or 5000. Each day make time, if just 5-10 minutes to talk to two or three people that you don’t engage with every day. Ask questions with the intentions of listening and show genuine interest in their response.
It is amazing how much goodwill can be built from being connected to the organization at every level.
Communicating is a full time position and perhaps one of the most important for the CEO or other executive leaders.
If your brand of communication is up in the clouds with your corner suite than you can trust that your connection with your employees is probably fragile at best.
A full time communicator will gain the pulse of the company from top to bottom.
Better leadership will be a much appreciated byproduct of doing what you should have been doing all along.