The most recent edition of James Rieley‘s newsletter, Plain Talk About Business Performance, expands on Ann Coombs’ comments about communication in the workplace and authentic leadership. In an essay titled “Can We Afford to be Economical with Communications?” Rieley makes the case for more honest communication — and full disclosure — during challenging times.
When it comes to making sure your managers and employees know what your expectations are, they need to know why. And even more importantly, if they don’t have a clear reason that they can get behind, you risk they coming to their own conclusions about your rationale. And that can be disastrous.
This issue becomes even more problematic when you consider some of the dynamics that are currently occurring in organisations today. These include; external and internal pressures for increased performance, the real and perceived complexity that organisations are working to deal with, cross-functional requirements for driving initiatives, and shifts in organisational cultures due to the number of mergers and acquisitions that we have seen in the past years.
Senior leaders need to let their managers know what is going on in their organisations; they need to keep their direct reports (and they need to keep their direct reports) informed on proposed initiatives and directives
(and the rationale behind them), and they need to ensure that they are accessible to employees who have concerns and/or input that might be extremely valuable to the company.
As a way to gauge how open your communication is as a leader, Rieley suggests that people check out Chris Argyris’ left-hand column tool for analyzing mental models that may be hampering communication.