How to stop Communications in your Company deteriorating
The job of most managers involves interacting with people – often more than 90% of their time. What managers need to learn has not changed; it has always been and will always be the ability to engage people.
The textbook definition of Communication is that it is a “process of conveying information from a sender to a receiver so that the information is understood in the same way by both sender and receiver”. Easier said than done because what happens some of the time is that the ‘receiver’ misunderstood the request and starts reading into something that is not there. They make assumptions based on their perception of their manager or the company. In addition, because of the method sometimes used to communicate, i.e. a short email there is no meaningful engagement and this misunderstanding festers.
In the age of super-duper technology, I believe Communications in companies is deteriorating at an alarming rate. We send instant messages or emails to colleagues who are sitting at the desk next to us. Everyone is copying everyone on emails which means that sometimes your day is taking up reading emails that are not relevant to you but you are copied on them to ‘keep you in the loop’. Sometimes this is necessary but in my experience the majority of time, this is unnecessary. A client recently told me that he had banned emails between colleagues and said that they either pick up the phone or go over to their desk as it was ridiculous the number of emails circulating. I agree with him.
Organisation culture is no doubt affected by this change in communicating with one another. Don’t get me wrong Technology is wonderful and I love the capability of it and it is great for connecting with clients, but is it affecting real staff and customer engagement? I believe it is. There was a time if you needed to talk to a client you picked up the phone and it was in that conversation that relationships were built and sometimes they resulted in even more business for you. Now what do we do? We send an email and if we have a good relationship with them, sometimes a text. No real engagement, just words.
What about our staff? Some employees are texting in to companies that they will not be in for work that day. How easy is that for them? This is not right. On the other hand, there were incidents where employees were notified by text that the company was closing down or they heard it on the radio. How can we honestly call this Communication? No wonder the receiver picks up the wrong message because the method of delivery does not allow us the freedom to express our message in the right way, read the body language to establish what is not being said and show real empathy. You cannot do this in an email or a text message as it comes out all wrong.
So what can you do? For a start, you can look at the Communication process in your company. As I said in a previous Blog post engaging your employees is about much more than top down communication, an intranet site, a slide pack, product training, or a glossy newsletter. Companies talk about their people being their best asset and yet they don’t really engage with them in any meaningful way. All acknowledgements of their good work are normally done through email instead of getting up from behind your desk and shaking their hand. How the Senior Managers engage will ultimately permeate down through the company to create the culture so this is a good place for you to start looking at your communication process.
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