There are a lot of ways to characterize this concept. Inspect the expect, actions speak louder than words, if it is important make it a priority; are all ways of describing how leaders can foster connection on their teams.
How Do You Demonstrate Value?
In this case if you tell your people that open communication is important how do you show that? The best way I know of is to make it a priority with your staff. Carve out time during the shift, or week to allow for a safe place for you to keep staff up to speed on things affecting them or the company and to let them have input as well.
We talk about how budgets actually reflect the character of a company as priorities found in those plans reflect what is really important to that group. The same holds true in the way we "budget" our time. If we allocate a set time for keeping lines of communication open, we are communicating that this is important.
The Accidental Communicators
One group I worked with discovered this by accident. The front line leadership were working to drive the behaviour of collecting metrics with each of the members on the team. In order to underscore its importance and to hold the team accountable they set a meeting for the start of each shift. Each crew member reported on the previous shifts results and they would go around the table until all had reported.
What began to happen was that as folks reported on results and issues other members of the team began to offer support and advice. Tribal knowledge began to bubble up in these meetings and they became not only a reporting venue but a planning and communication opportunity at the start of each shift. It became so important to the team that some even suggested coming in 15 minutes early to make sure the meeting would not be cut short.
Leadership made communication a priority and the staff responded accordingly. What grew out of it was stronger connections on the team and between the team and leadership. (And no-one was ever late for these meetings either!) Making communication a priority is at its root a sign of the respect you hold for your team. Performance Leadership - Think About It!