As someone who has spent over 20 years consulting for companies, I can tell you that the number one problem most businesses face is poor communication. You’d think with highly intelligent leaders this would not be the case, but statistics tell us otherwise: 4 out of 10 workers say their managers fail to engage in honest conversations about work (HR Magazine, Winter 2020). What workers are looking for is a culture of candid communication.
Add to the mix COVID-19 and the disruption of the workplace, and we have a serious issue. Work from home is great in concept but isn’t always best for creative, solutions-oriented cultures. Why? Because we need each other, plain and simple. We build off of one another through productive conversations. Research is showing a rise in loneliness and a feeling of isolation the longer WFM occurs. A hard, cold fact is “what is not seen, is forgotten.”
When leaders fail to regularly communicate with their employees, workers are left to write their own story. What I mean by this is the human brain will fill in the gaps, and unfortunately, human nature often goes to the worse-case-scenario. Why would you want your people to think negatively when you can easily communicate the positive? Yet over and over again, managers limit conversations to reviews or PIPs, at which time, it is too late. Those employees who desperately want guidance and direction will have left, even if their body remains.
With COVID-19 and the economy tanking, there are many things we cannot control. Communication is one where we can and should! As a leadership development coach, I help leaders understand the importance of getting to know their people and how to communicate in ways that work for them. It’s just common sense, but it isn’t common practice.
People don’t leave companies – they leave their boss. When people exit, you need to look in the mirror. What could you have done differently? Did you communicate clearly and consistently? Did you handle crucial conversations with dignity and respect?
A culture of candid communication filters down, and your people will discuss things rather than hide them. They will pass along respect and dignity to each other and your customers. If you aren’t comfortable with communication, then get help! Your people are starving for it, and your business depends upon it.
My book Leveraging Your Communication Style is a great tool for first understanding yourself and then how you would identify and adapt your communication for others. It’s a game changer!