Effective Communication is Critical ...
Isabella Mendoza was recently hired as manager of the marketing department of an e-commerce company. The company announced her appointment to the employees through a short email. The sales department was looking forward to her arrival.
The previous manager was a colossal flop and was not up to the standards. The employees were anticipating someone who knew and understood the objective of the company. Employees hoped that the new manager shall immediately bring the changes to uplift the company's image.
Ms Mendoza was told to take measures for curtailing the cost in the department. This message was communicated to the new manager in a short email sent to her new official email address. The advertising cost was on top of the list, which the company was hoping to curtail immediately. However, Mendoza had not been given any specific directions regarding the directives to cut costs.
Nevertheless, she decided to cut the cost through a combination of scalebacks in advertisement spending, training costs, slashing the travelling cost. So the essential travel shall continue on prior approval and decrease the total number of active advertisement campaigns to help reduce per month running cost.
Mendoza was anxious to show her employers that she was taking the initiative to bring the cost down shortly. In this challenging moment, she sent out a short email to her superiors and employees, updating them that she would be implementing cost-cutting measures very soon.
Naturally, when managers start talking about cost-cutting, the existing employees are affected, and some always get fired. Mendoza's employees heard about cost-cutting quite often and were familiar with the outcome. The last two times they heard and experienced "cutting cost", five employees lost their jobs. After receiving Mendoza's email, employees started contemplating that another layoff was in the pipelines. Immediately rumours began spreading about how some of them might fall victim to cost-cutting and lose their jobs.
After the spread of such stories, the motivation started sinking. Employees spend most of their time thinking about who is going to get laid off. Some started refreshing and updating their resumes and sending out job applications to other organisations. Only a few employees were doing the work as per regular routine. The entire department started to lose trust in Mendoza, and productivity of the department plummeted to an all-time low. Six days later, Mendoza gave the details of her cost-cutting strategy. There was no plan mentioned of retrenchment or layoffs in the 15 pages PDF file which was circulated. However, the company had already taken a blow. Now, Mendoza had two significant problems: to cut costs and find a way to motivate employees.
The above story is a classic example of the link between communication and efficient, professional management. As you have seen, when the information transmitted from managers to employees is misunderstood, many things could go wrong. Every single aspect of managing, leading, planning, organising, controlling, and delegation depends on effective communication.
Managers must receive accurate and precise information themselves to plan accordingly. They must also transmit information accurately and clearly to their employees to avoid any miscommunication. The simplest way to get things done the wrong way is to fail to communicate with your employees. This can make or break your career. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will be done and achieved without proper communication and interaction in the department.
The fact of the matter is that the often-neglected importance of effective communication is vital in managing expectations and varying views. Every employee has unique ideas and opinions on different issues due to past experiences. Each of them thinks that their way of doing things makes perfect sense.
Like, Greg from Human Resources might believe that it's okay to only promote employees above the age of 28. According to Greg, it makes perfect sense. McKinsey from Accounting, for example, thinks it would be better to outsource the company's bookkeeping to a third party. By doing this, the department can have some extra 8 hours each week to play table tennis. Once again, it makes perfect sense, at least to McKinsey.
While I can't support either of these views, their actions are entirely within the limits of workplace behaviour. Effective communication is essential for managing different views and ensuring the collaboration of individual attempts within an organisation. Communication is not just telling your employee what to do and how to do it at the workplace. Communication is much more than sending out emails and circulars in any organisation's operations – it is the organisation's lifeblood.
Without a doubt, one of the most critical skills that a manager must have is practical communication skills. This skill is missing in most industries, like, hospitality, healthcare, construction or technology, which creates problems in disposing of the responsibilities and achieving the desired results.
As a manager, your primary role is to ensure the daily regulation of operational activities and set up goals at the group level to support your employees. This means you're either communicating your goals to your team or listening to what they have to report back on assigned tasks; all involve communication.
Nothing will work, irrespective of how knowledgeable and expert you are in your field, without establishing an effective and transparent communication habit with your employees. Due to inefficient communication in the department, most problems arise, which can quickly be resolved with effective communication.
The design team's failure to meet the boss requirements is probably because their boss did not communicate the details of the job. Problems, like the colour of the company's banner at the anniversary celebration, are perhaps because of a lack of clear, effective communication.
Every problem in the workplace more or less occurs due to a lack of communication with the employees. That is why excellent communication skills are one of the most essential skills that a manager must possess. The better you communicate, the more likely you're to perform your role effectively as a manager. Whatever you want to achieve, whether you're trying to bring your team members up to the mark on any specific topic or bring them on the same page, effective communication is the key to achieving everything.