This is no time to lose touch with your people. But it’s easy to do when things are in a state of flux. The normal communication channels in the firm probably won’t be working as well as usual. The rumor mill will be in high gear. Meanwhile, your employees will be hungrier than ever for answers and information. Good communication is a two-way street. First, provide a variety of opportunities for employee input to you, and be a careful listener. Take more time with people. Be available. Ask more questions. Get their opinions and reactions to the changes. Maintain more visibility by circulating (“managing by wandering around”) and just making it clear that you are an
accessible boss. The other part of good communication, of course, is getting the information to your people that they want and need. Keep employees updated on a regular basis. Just keeping them posted regarding the fact that you don’t have any new information is meaningful information to them. Strive to be specific rather than vague, candid rather than guarded. Clear up the rumors and misinformation that clutter the information channels. If your work group has communication problems, rest assured these will result in other secondary problems.
They will give birth to other serious issues such as:
- Productivity decline
- Loss of team play
- Power struggles
- Slippage in morale and job commitment
- Lack of alignment
- Damaging turnover
These red flags are symptomatic of weak communication practices, and they get expensive quickly.