What is the one word we hear more than any other when it comes to staff feedback? Communication. Repeatedly, in almost every organization with which PrairieFire works, the issue of communication comes up. The struggle for organizations is that communication is somewhat of a catch-all category. Because it’s a catch-all, leaders are often unclear about the specific communication needs plaguing their staff. As you evaluate your own staff communication, try to determine what your staff are specifically requesting. Here are some different ways communication can be a struggle:
- The Phantom Menace. Organizations often have a way more effective informal communication network than formal. Often company leaders withhold information to avoid over-reactive responses. Thus, they leave staff in the dark, reliant on the informal phantom communication network to pass along information. We would encourage leaders to be proactive with clear and timely communication. Don’t leave your staff to phantom networks that often take on a life of their own. Be clear and be out in front of your communication.
- The Once Upon a Time. Organizations and leaders, at times, are so focused on their public image that they spend a great deal of time controlling the narrative. While being proactive with getting the information out to staff is important, be cautious of overly controlling the narrative. Staff will lose confidence when they begin to believe that everything is a whitewashed story. Acknowledging the truth will go a long way in correcting problems rather than just telling stories that never approach the heart of an issue.
- The Mission Impossible. Who’s responsible for communication? If It’s everyone’s job to communicate, then often it’s no one’s job. Organizations can struggle with communication simply because they have not taken the time to outline a communication strategy that makes it clear what should be communicated, who should do the communicating, and how the communication should happen. Chaos in communication often happens because there is not a clear strategy for communication.
So, should communicating well matter? According to Forbes 33% of businesses that fail report that communication struggles were a contributing factor. Correctly identifying how your organization is struggling in the area of communication is the first step in overcoming this common issue. So, is your organization a Phantom Menace, a Once Upon a Time, or a Mission Impossible?
If you and your staff could benefit from a valuable experience where you would learn actionable communication techniques and enjoy some interactive exercises, you can sign up for a free lunch and learn experience by clicking here.
Until next time,