Last week I was reviewing some on-line articles and one article “Top Companies are Guided by These Three Best Principles” got me thinking about how key communication is within any organization – virtual or traditional. As I write this article I am working with a client to implement significant changes in how the entire team functions at every level of the organization. Key areas that have suffered include communication and collaboration. The breakdown that had occurred was having negative effects on staff engagement, inter-departmental cooperation, and the quality of work performed. Employees were feeling under-appreciated, stressed, and frustrated.
When people feel frustrated, under-valued or unappreciated, they frequently do one of two things – they disengage and stop communicating, or they become negative and this can cause a ripple effect within the organization.
An effective business requires strong communication between different teams, and at all levels within the organization. As a leader, it is your role to lead this process. Communication is more than words. It also involves non-verbal communication such as body language, facial
expressions and business outcomes. Watch, listen and engage each team member regularly to learn from them. Don’t be judgmental or resistant to the information shared with you. Take action promptly when good ideas or problems are shared. Actions do speak louder than words.
Use communication channels as a way to learn and improve systems and the culture within your organization. The TV show, Undercover Boss, highlights what employers can learn by being open to the realities within their organizations. You don’t have to go undercover but it is important to get out of your office every week. Be yourself and be authentic in your interactions. Show your interest in each member of your team and hear what they have to say… it will dividends!
Value Your People
Labour costs are most likely your greatest expense but your team members are also your greatest asset. A good team that is happy and productive can make a significant difference to your business – through customer service, revenues, profit margins and more! Employees and contractors who feel valued are more engaged, more innovative and great ambassadors for your business.
How can you demonstrate this appreciation? Network with your team. In large businesses, your presence may not be appreciated in the beginning because you are the boss. When team members learn you are truly interested in them, and not looking for faults, you will make good headway. Ask questions to learn more about them, as a person. People generally like to share information about their family, hobbies etc. when asked. As you get to know them, you will be able to follow up on previous discussions, recognize birthdays in your next interaction. Acknowledging the contributions of each team member individually and collectively and asking for their input or opinions is important. Everyone likes to feel like their efforts have been noticed or their ideas could be implemented.
What steps will you take to lead your organization to higher heights?