Good Communication Is Essential
(From the October 1997 issue of Demolition, published by the NADC)
By Ronald B. Dokell
Employees often show concern about the quality as well as the quantity of communications at work. Sometime management and the boss only give lip service to truly open communication. Some managers and bosses think that posting notices on bulletin boards and sending out memos provides adequate communication. Ineffective communication often results in poor cooperation, poor coordination and a lot of gossip and rumors, which increase employee turnover and certainly lowers productivity.
Creating a climate of trust is one of the best things a manager can do. Here are some key points in being a good communicator to your employees and co workers:
- Don't just talk "open door policy". Practice it by walking around and talking to employees and fellow workers. Allow people to disagree with your thoughts and to come up with new ideas.
- Listen to employees. Show respect for them when they speak. They will feel like part of the team and will tend to be more dedicated and productive. One way to get an employee to show interest is to ask questions. Just make sure he doesn't feel he's being tested.
- Each time you give instructions, ask yourself if the message is really clear. If you are concerned about really communicating, you should ask your employee what he is going to do as a result of what you and he have just discussed. This will give you an idea of whether or not you have gotten your point across.
- Understand that communication is a two way street. It involves you giving information and receiving feedback. If it's only a one way street, you never know what your employee understood you to say.
- Information is a service to your employees and not a power over them. If you know something that can make an employee perform his job better or easier, provide that information.
- Place more emphasis on face to face communication. People like to see the boss if he is coming to be "helpful".
- Prepare written publications fairly often. Emphasize issues that employees care about.
- Concentrate on building credibility with employees. Always tell the truth. Don't embellish. Bosses who lack credibility and fail to create a climate of trust and openness, will not be believed no matter how hard they try to communicate.
Good communication generally enhances good performance and attitude. If you are a boss, you can't afford not to be a good communicator.
Ron Dokell is past president of Olshan Demolishing Company and is currently president of Demolition Management Consultants, a demolition management consulting firm,