As a manager you have a prime responsibility to achieve results through people, and yet, however sound your ideas or well reasoned your decisions may be they will only be effective if they are transmitted correctly and succinctly resulting in the desired outcomes which are ‘value-adding’ to all parties.
Communication is one of your most critical and vital management tools and is conveyed through both actions and attitudes. It encompasses all levels of human behavior that results in an effective exchange of meaning and worth. How effective you manage will depend on how well you communicate and I have always looked at my most important elements of communication.
When I was given the task of turning a major engineering company from a local $5m pa loss making concern into a $40m international success story, my main strategic intent was to instill a program of communication.
My strategies for a great communication policy was:
- Clarify the ideas before communicating – Analyse the idea/problem to be communicated – Consider the goals and attitudes of those who will receive the communication and those who will be affected by it
- Examine the true purpose of the communication – What do you want to accomplish through the message? Identify your goal but importantly use language and tone to serve the specific objective and ensure the message is sharply focused
- Consider the physical and human setting – Meaning and intent are conveyed by more than words alone – Timing, the setting whether it is to be private or otherwise. Be constantly aware of the environment where you communication will conform to the expectations of those receiving it
- Follow up the communication – All best efforts of communication could well be wasted if it is not followed up to see how well the message has been put
- Communicate for tomorrow and not just today – There may well be immediate demands they must be planned with the past in mind if you are to maintain consistency in the eyes of the receiver. Don’t postpone disagreeable communications as it will only make them more difficult in the long run
- Be sure your actions support your communication – The most effective communications are not about what you say but what you do and good management practices. Clear assignment of responsibility and authority including consistent, sound policy enforcement is crucial
- Be constantly mindful – Be receptive to responses from others
- Be understood, but also understand – Be a good listener and be attentive to those around you. Listening is most important and demands that you concentrate on not only what a person is expressing but also on their implicit meanings, unspoken words, and even undertones
Good communication will develop a teams confidence and will set the lens through which team members view an issue or problem, They may even find it easier at times to tear down rather than build.
However, the value of the participative method will point to constructive thoughts and actions.