Good communications is one of the keystones required for successful Management. How else can a Manager provide his team with exactly what is required of them and motivate them to reach their employers expectations? How else can an employee know if they are doing what they are supposed to be doing and how well they are doing it?
The level and tone of Management to employee communications is set by the Manager. A good Middle Manager is skilled at communications, without this in his toolbox he cannot hope to be entirely successful. So, what can be done to encourage better communication with employees?
Firstly, where possible a Manager should encourage an open door policy. His team should know that in the main, they can always approach their Manager with questions and requests for clarity regarding anything to do with their work function. It is wise however to set rules in place for this, to avoid abuse of the system and non interruption of meetings etc.
A Manager should strive for empathy with his staff so that they are comfortable in conversation with him. Without this any open door policy is ineffective and will fail. Without such empathy a Manager will struggle to achieve a productive team and this tends to show a lack in management and interperson skills.
All Company communications should be effectively promulgated and be discussed in regular team meetings so that any misunderstandings can be explained. In addition, such discussion encourages engagement of staff members in Company procedures and aspirations.
These team meetings are extremely important and should be diaried on a regular basis. On occasion it can be useful to delegate a Team member to run the meeting or to cover a particular subject. This again encourages participation. Regularly rotate which member of the Team is involved but be careful with those that are not comfortable with presentation as this may alienate an individual. your knowledge of your team, as a Manager will facilitate this.
Also, one to one meetings should take place between a Manager and his team. Not only does this allow for focus on individual performance but also helps to grow the relationship between both people. From a Manager's point of view such meetings assist with the growth of empathy and also deepens the knowledge you have of that member of your Team. These meetings also increase staff engagement and facilitate communications between a Manager and his team member. These One to one meetings also provide excellent coaching opportunities should they be required.
The areas covered above also apply to Senior Management and how they relate to Middle Management that fall under their responsibility. Communications within a Company is a chain and if at any point within the Management structure that chain is broken; then the message does not layer down to all levels.
Management can also instigate general methods for communication to staff via newsletters, a Company intranet and noticeboards. However simply leaving such as a passive method of communications can be ineffective, which is why staff engagement via discussion regarding any postings and notices is most important.
Talk may be cheap but it can be very effective.