Communicate – communicate – communicate: Can I say it again?
Very few people will ever be accused of over-communicating. I am not talking about speaking too long or too much, but conveying actual and real information. The majority of issues in our lives start out as something benign and they blow up in our faces when too little or no communication happens. As a leader-manager this can really back fire in a heart-beat. This applies to you as well. How many situations can you think of, where a simple one-on-one conversation early on in a misunderstanding would have prevented a long drawn out dispute?
A four step process can really work well for you:
- Have frequent and periodic one-on-one meetings with your people. Make it their time with you and ask yourself how you can be your team member’s quarter back.
- Have periodic department meetings. Review the past, reflect on what is coming up and your companies goals as well as how that impacts your group and what you expect.
- Have a suggestion fish bowl. Do not use the trusted old locked and keyed ones. Put it out there for everyone to see. Follow up with the folks who put it in and see if you can make it happen.
- Have weekly company meetings. For smaller companies up to 80 people this still works great. For larger organizations you will need to break this up by departments, but the concept still works. Make it 15 minutes standing up in an area big enough for everyone to see and listen to the presenter. Make sure to stay on time and subject. Topics: Successes, failures, team report outs, status reports of the individual departments, open book financial report out, etc. More on this in a future blog.
What you want to achieve is a steady traffic of information that relates to the company’s goals and purpose and how this breaks it down to the individual. Feel helpless because you are “only” an employee? Think again. You can ask for one-on-ones and you can find out about the state of affairs on your own. Key is to turn water cooler talk into constructive one.