Why Good Communication Matters

I’m really hard pressed to think of a situation where a leader could over communicate. I suppose it’s those situations similar to when a follower might ask what time it is and the answer includes the history of watch making. I don’t think there are actually many leaders who do that.

 

In my experience it’s far more likely that a leader will under-communicate than over-communicate.

 

It really isn’t necessary to provide more information to a member of your organization than they need to be successful. It is however vital that they have every last drop of information available when it’s relevant to whatever it is they have been tasked with doing. 

 

There are many reasons a leader might under-communicate but a big one is that too many leaders believe that information is power. That’s not actually how it works. The fact is, applied information is power and that information cannot be applied until it is shared. 

 

Leaders who withhold information from their people, for whatever reason, are not helping anyone, least of all themselves. A leader’s success is dependent upon the success of their people and without information their people are less likely to be successful.

 

Information is the enemy of rumor. People have this spot inside them that must be filled with information, if their leaders don’t fill it they will fill it themselves. Rumors are great filler! The trouble with rumors is that they are far too often wrong, filled with productivity killing miss-information. 

 

That’s why well thought out, meaningful and consistent communication matters so much.

 

If you’re a leader who doesn’t like rumors then stop them with information, correct, useful, and needed information.

 

Sometimes people at the top of an organization forget how invested their people are in the business. Your people want to know how the organization is doing, they want to know where they “fit.” They NEED to know they matter and that what they do is importance to the overall health of the organization. 

 

If you’re a leader then you have information that has the potential to super-charge your people. Don’t keep it a secret, don’t think being the only person who knows it makes you more important. Share the information and trust your people to use it to the benefit of the team. 


If you’re truly a leader that’s exactly what they will do. 

Building Loyal Employees

According to a study by the Hay Group, a global management consultancy firm, trust and confidence in top leadership is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.

Their research also showed that consistent communication in 3 areas was essential to building that trust and confidence. The three areas are:

· Helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy.
· Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives.
· Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division is doing.

Now I’m going to make a pretty broad statement here and I want you to understand that I know what I’m about to say is not accurate for every organization but I believe that it is for most.

Most leaders are relatively effective at sharing their organization’s overall strategy and can almost certainly break out their organization’s progress by division or segment when that is required. Where they most often fall short is in explaining how each individual employee contributes to achieving the organization’s goals and objectives.

The scary thing is, of the three essential areas, knowing where “they fit” and how they contribute is most important for individual employees.

Most leaders are so focused on the results that they tend to overlook where the results truly come from. Systems and a good process only help get to the results, it’s actually people, human beings, who make the results happen.

Their efforts need to be recognized. Notice I said NEED! That need doesn’t make them weak, it doesn’t make them egocentric, it doesn’t make them “high maintenance,” it merely makes them human.

Every person you lead NEEDS to know that they matter; they need to know that the effort they put forth contributes to the success of the organization. You can’t let them know that too often, and you can’t be too specific. Make it a point to give them examples of exactly how something they did added value or made a positive impact.

If you’re leading a large organization you may not be able to share personally with everyone how their role makes a difference but it is your responsibility to ensure that leaders at every level of your organization let their people know that they and their job matters.

Once your people know that what they do matters they will no longer feel as if they “have” to do it, they will “want” to do it and they will want to do it well. They will trust you and their confidence in you and your organization will grow. They will not only be satisfied employees, they will become loyal to their role, to the organization, and to you, their leader.

They will become the people you need to have with you in order to succeed!