We are social creatures and communication is one of the important things that set us apart from other species. As well this is connected to that idea that none of us want to be treated like mushrooms - kept in the dark and fed manure! If we agree with the concept that your people want to do a good job and are looking to find connection and meaning, then providing regular and clear communication is vital to helping that happen.
No News Is Not Good News
The lack of this needed communication is something I see frequently. We all feel that we do a good job communicating with our teams and with each other. The best advice I ever received was that if we felt we were doing a good job of communicating then take those efforts and multiply by ten and you would be getting close to effective communication.
Some companies have done an excellent job of addressing part of this by providing mentor programs. While this helps new staff in particular learn the company culture (hopefully the one you want them to learn) it does not replace the things that you as their leader need to provide them.
Setting Staff Up For Failure
No one wants to bump into a policy or expectation they did not know about. (Remember they all want to do a good job.) And nothing is as disheartening as when that happens. I recall many times walking onto a site, shop floor, or office to find someone frustrated and paralyzed to inactivity because they were not sure what they were supposed to do next. They did not want to do the wrong thing and they also did not want to "pester" the boss. It's like the old safety joke - nobody moves, nobody gets hurt.
Clarity Of Expectation – Vital To Performance
Research shows that leaders can drive up employee engagement through regular communication of expectations. According to Gallup - "Employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them. As well engagement is highest among employees who have some form (face to face, phone or digital) of daily communication with their managers. In their Q12 research, Gallup has discovered that clarity of expectations is perhaps the most basic of employee needs and is vital to performance. Helping employees understand their responsibilities may seem like "management 101," but employees need more than a written job description to fully grasp their role. Great managers don't just tell employees what's expected of them and leave it at that; instead, they frequently talk with employees about their responsibilities and progress. They don't save those critical conversations for once-a-year performance reviews." Jim Harter, Ph.D - Gallup
A Little Time – A Big Return
The bottom line is that as a leader you must be intentional about providing regular and clear guidance to your team. It is something that produces far greater benefits with the investment of a bit of your time. In fact I read one study that said a ten minute investment communicating with a staff member can drive up their engagement and performance for up to 80 hours! Don't you think that is a pretty good investment? Performance Leadership - Think About It!
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