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Three Leadership Approaches to Encouraging Two-Way Corporate Communication

 When corporate communication is an open exchange of ideas, information and feedback, the result is a healthy corporate culture.

Have you created a work environment of mutual trust where office communication is a two-way street? If not, you may be missing out on some important opportunities to 1) get everyone marching in the same direction, 2) gain valuable input from your team and 3) guide employee performance while increasing engagement.At HT Staffing, we work at creating corporate culture that is communication-friendly, and we encourage you to do the same. Here are three leadership approaches that can help you create a communicative corporate culture.

Lead from the center. In his book, The 8th Habit, Stephen R. Covey cites a Harris Interactive poll of 23,000 employees. Only 37 percent of those polled said they clearly understand what their respective organizations are trying to achieve and why.

Take time to identify and articulate your company’s core values, mission and vision. As appropriate, enlist your employees in crystallizing them. Post these central precepts prominently on the walls of the office, in email taglines, and on your website and intranet so everyone knows what the company stands for and where you’re headed.

Lead from the top. Do your staff members feel free to speak up if they spot an inefficiency or disagree with a management decision? Do they know their questions, suggestions and observations will be received with respect and consideration? Do they believe they’re getting the straight skinny on what’s going on in the company? If not, look to your management team’s corporate communication style.

An insecure leader may not be able to tolerate the tumble of ideas and opinions that occur when you open the floor to everyone in the room. A manager might have a “my-way-or-the-highway” attitude. These are problems worth addressing.

The payoff is the potential for process improvements, idea-sharing that generates innovation and resolution of differences. The bonus is that employees who believe they can make a difference in an organization tend to experience greater job satisfaction, and are willing to be more invested in the company’s success.

Lead in a loop. Give—and get—fast, frequent feedback.

Kudos are best delivered publicly. Include details about the stellar performer’s specific actions and the resulting benefits to the team or the company. Learn from the employee how management and others on the team contributed to the success.

Criticism should be conveyed in private, with an HR representative present if needed. Aiming for a positive resolution of problematic behavior or situations keeps the discussion constructive. Seek input from the employee about the factors that led to the difficulty, and ask for his or her recommendations about how to correct the issue.

Remember to use the most effective medium for each office communication. Face-to-face interactions offer visual clues beyond the exchange of words. Email provides a “paper trail.” A phone call or text message might be the quickest, most immediate means of responding.

Fostering a safe environment for communication give-and-take is essential to a healthy corporate culture. Invite input from everyone on the team, and insist on an atmosphere of mutual respect. Encourage a communicative corporate culture that extends beyond the workplace to forthright exchanges with customers, prospects and suppliers.

Let us know what have you done to promote effective communication in your company. What benefits have you seen? What are the biggest communication challenges you’ve encountered?

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