Talk is Cheap. Or Is It?
So often when we talk about communication in the workplace, we emphasize the need for leaders/managers to make sure they’re “talking with the troops.” We bemoan the fact that employees lack they info they need to do their jobs, or we focus on the failure of company managers to communicate effectively in order to strengthen personal interactions, clarify info or instructions, or speak honestly. Poor workplace communication is often placed firmly in the lap of the top-brass, the leaders and even the line supervisors. The emphasis seems to be ensuring that leaders are doing all they can to communicate at several levels – organization-wide, at the department level, within specific teams or with individuals.
But rarely do we seem to take the time to point out that ALL employees need to improve their communication skills within the organization.
Meaning what exactly?
Meaning that individual employees need to pay attention to channeling information back to their leaders when necessary and in an appropriate manner:
- Gossip or chatting about rumors is not communication. Whispered conversations in the 4th floor bathroom amongst a few team members does not equate to making sure a manager is aware of an issue or that s/he knows that employees desire clarification.
- An anonymous note, written on a torn-out piece of loose-leaf paper is NOT an appropriate method for sharing a workplace concern with either the HR staff member or a manager.
- Complaining about a team issue and focusing on generalities or personality-characteristics of a coworker will generally mean that the issue will not be viewed as a priority. Bringing forth an issue with specific details, observed behaviors or violations – and sharing this in a thoughtful and professional manner – will ensure that the company leader is clear on what the complaint entails.
Remember the Fockers movies? All that talk about the “Circle of Trust?” Of course organizations strive for that circle of trust – and that circle of comunication. It’s not, of course, top down only. It IS a circle.
Talk. Be Heard.