As an employer, you need to give your employees the best training, accessibility and support you can offer. Whether you are conducting serious training and are testing employees in an online training software, or leisurely exchanging past weekend stories, an open line of communication is critical. It is common knowledge that the best managers are the ones who are always available to their employees. They are at the office after their employees leave. They are there before they arrive in the morning. They only step in when they need to and give their employees the space and trust they need to flourish. Leadership isn’t about telling people what to do. It’s about setting a good example and following through on your promises. It’s about offering guidance and coaching in place of a reprimand. It is about knowing who your employees are and using their strengths to create value for the organization. It’s about inspiring your staff to grow with you and the organization. Great leadership starts with an open and honest exchange. Great leadership starts with communication.
In the 21st century the mediums open for professional leaders to communicate with their staff are as diverse as the General Assembly of the United Nations. Old favourites like the telephone, internal memos, performance reviews and focus groups have been joined by new methods over the last two decades like email, the online forum and instant messaging. In a world where the flow and speed of communication is constantly increasing, choosing the right mixture of communication tools to use with employees is more important than ever to keep everyone focused and on task.
At the end of the day, the right mix is going to depend a great deal on the structure and function of an organization. On the one hand, managers of large companies with relatively flat hierarchies are going to require more collaborative and dynamic tools to encourage real-time interaction between co-workers in different divisions, and in many cases, different offices. On the other hand, managers at smaller, local organizations can rely on more face-to-face and personal communication to keep things on track.
Regardless of the situation though, digital and web-based communication tools should be part of any organizations communication mix. Setting up forums, chat rooms, or collaborative cloud work spaces can keep your employees connected while allowing managers to see exactly what staff are working on and giving them opportunities to provide support wherever it’s needed. If a manager prefers a more personal style, applications like Skype or other direct communication tools can help them connect with staff on a one-on-one, even when they are away from the office.
The most important thing for managers to remember is that their door, even if it is only their virtual one, always needs to be open. Employees need to be able to access their expertise and guidance in a timely fashion to keep work on track and clarify expectations. Wasted time is wasted money in the highly competitive global economy. Gone are the days when managers can simply wait to review the final product. Evaluating on an ongoing basis through open communication can ensure that no matter what the business or organization’s focus, the work is always done right. And work done well and on time makes everyone a winner.