[It’s all in a word … ]
They’re the “deal breakers” many of us look for in our friends and partners – the clues that we can trust them and that we share at our core, a common set of beliefs and values. So, why would colleagues and business associates be any different?
In most instances where reputations are at stake and emotional responses run high, you can trace mistrust back to a lack of effective and prompt communication. For the most part, people just want to be heard and kept informed about issues that may affect them at work, in their communities and in their transactions with large companies like banks and other service providers.
In this age of instant communication – phone, mobile phone, e-mail, instant messaging and even social media – there’s little excuse for leaders not to communicate quickly with their staff, especially when issues arise that outside sources may report on first. Leaders who are inspired, intuitive, creative and passionate (in other words, “highly conscious”) know this, and use the platforms at their disposal to ensure consistent communication with their teams and associates.
Leaders who create an environment that fosters passion, courage and a desire for excellence do so through effectively communicating their company’s vision and mission to all employees. In an age where the competitive advantage can be lost overnight, speaking to staff on a one-to-one as well as via effective digital messaging is more important than ever. Follow-up is also important, to ensure everyone heard the same message at the same time. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
In my experience, clear, concise communication keeps staff members from thinking the company has any secrets from them and trust grows. Conscious communication is key to fostering a productive environment in-house, and a reputation for honesty in one’s industry. It’s about communicating the good news as well as the bad news. Being kept informed often leads to creative problem solving and innovation.
The leader who is able to put himself or herself in the employees’ or community’s shoes is the one who is most likely to ensure individuals feel secure because they’ve heard news from the “horse’s mouth”. The “message behind the message” is: “We care about you. We respect you. We’re being honest and forthright with you.” Instant, open communication can truly be the difference between a highly productive, effective happy company (or community) and a mediocre one.