True story… I was asked by a manager to add an employee to our score report tracking system. Reason… that employee is a new hire. Within 23 minutes I was asked by another manager in a different department at the same organization to remove an employee from our score report tracking system. Reason… that employee is no longer employed. What’s the point? Both managers were talking about the same employee. It happens! By the way, I did confirm that this employee is no longer employed… But hey, tomorrow’s a new day and you never know what will happen.
One of the most common complaints we hear from employees at all levels of an organization is “we have a communication problem”. What most of these people mean when they say this is that they are not being informed of things they should know. For example, learning from a customer that your company is changing a key component of a product. A manager hearing from a manager in another department about a change in policy or staffing instead of from within his chain of command. Or, hearing about a new hire in your department from a friend that doesn’t even work at your organization. If you’re a supervisor you need to insure that your direct reports know what’s going on. Issues of importance need to be communicated up the chain of command as well as down it. Hire a new employee? Make sure your boss knows about it. Don’t let her find out from a friend of a friend at Wal-Mart. Typically, poor communication begins with a link in the chain of command not following up, not following through and not following basic communication standards. In other words, the chain of command is missing a link. Make sure you’re not the missing link.
- If you’re a leader in the organization you need to implement guidelines for disseminating information so that everyone is clear on where corporate information is to come from. If the leader is the missing link then the rest of the chain has nothing to hold on to and you end up with a twisted and tangled chain lying on the floor. Unfortunately, that’s the picture of the state of communication at many organizations today.
- A culture of transparency needs to be established. If employees can hear the same message multiple times from several different sources within the organization then you, as the leader, can be assured that the message is getting through. If one person drops the ball, others are right there to catch it and pass it along.