Effective communication is vital to the success of an organization. So much that oftentimes it represents what leaders feel is one of the largest contributing factors to a poor company culture. While sometimes the issue lies primarily with the amount of communication taking (or not taking) place, other times this “quantity perception” is actually masking other problems.
Leaders increase communication across various channels, or even create new channels, as a means of showing employees the importance of communication. Yet, despite these efforts, the sentiment towards communication by many within the organization goes unchanged.
Leaders can struggle to understand the emotional aspect behind what it truly means to the members of the organization to have poor communication. Some employees may experience frustration with trying to comprehend the message. They may appreciate the frequency in which leadership chooses to communicate, but they struggle to know how certain messages affect them personally.
While its admirable that many leaders want to exercise transparency and immediately share a wealth of information, the process they use may not allow for the proper “translation” in how it is filtered down the ranks and explained to representatives at all levels.
Other employees may feel that the problem lies in how little information flows upward. They fully comprehend the message conveyed, but they have concerns or something to contribute which may have been overlooked by leadership. But the effort and time by leadership spent pushing out communications is not reciprocated by the time and effort spent understanding the reactions to them. In the end, leaders fail to elicit the appropriate feedback and simply continue to focus their efforts on what is sent out to the organization.
We challenge leaders to hold themselves to a high standard in terms of what they communicate, how the message is shared, as well as the forums they establish for how questions or concerns are to be shared and answered. There is no denying the role that communication plays within our organizations. But ignoring other facets of communication by simply opting to share more information in different ways won’t make the problem go away.