Close Workplace Communication Gaps

Written by Vicki Lauter on . Posted in Stages of Growth

As a leader you know you have to let go of control at some point if you want your business to grow. As your business grows beyond your reach it’s likely there is no supervision or support for how work gets done. Your people are just expected to work and when something goes wrong you may look back and think the person didn’t do a very good job or they didn’t do it the way you would have.

A 2010 study conducted by Lynn Taylor Consulting found that U.S. employees spend 13 hours during the work week worrying about what the boss says or does. The study showed that the drain actions and words from a mean and incompetent boss can have a huge impact on an employee’s productivity. As a leader and boss, you have no option but to pay attention to this issue.

How do you know if there are leadership/staff communication gaps in your company? Some or all of these may be happening; do you recognize any of them?

* Responsibility is abdicated instead of intentionally distributed leaving people to wonder what their job duties are
* People are arguing instead of collaborating
* Good people are leaving
* People don’t have a sense of how their work impacts the company
* People aren’t held accountable
* Leaders play favorites

Why do you need to ensure you resolve this issue? If you don’t:

* You’ll have lower productivity
* You’ll have higher incidents of “water cooler talk”
* You’ll have lack of commitment from employees
* You’ll have customer service mistakes
* You’ll have higher turn over
* You’ll have finger pointing and blame placing

How do you fix this issue?  As a leader/manager you’ll need to spend 30 minutes a week with each of your direct reports. The goal is to open up a dialog between you and your employee. This is not a discussion about how a project is going or how work is getting done. The meeting is all about you connecting with your direct report and them connecting to you.

How it works – Each week you ask the employee three questions.

1.  What did you accomplish last week that you are proud of?
2.  What would you like to accomplish next week in order to learn something new?
3.  How can I help you?

Don’t worry if at first you struggle with the process. It may take you a few weeks to get into the swing of this type of interaction with your employees. Stick with the process even if it feels uncomfortable at first. In a very short time your employee and you will settle into the weekly meetings and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

For more insights on how to identify and close your company communication gaps contact Strategic Human Insights for a complementary consultation.

 

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