Fostering Open Communication

30 Jul

Leaders can do four things to foster open communication:

1. Make criticism part of a routine day.
Address criticism in a matter-of-fact way. Help employees understand that criticism is as integral a part of doing business as paying bills. To be a well-functioning team, a group must operate with a level of honesty that necessitates leaving room for criticism.

2. Conduct more frequent reviews
An organization that conducts periodic reviews sends a strong message that open communication is desired. The developmental review is a non-threatening meeting where the manager reviews the employee’s performance for the purpose of giving the employee insights on ways to improve performance. Proponents of this practice say that employees listen more receptively to issues involving their day-to-day performance because salary increases are not discussed, as they would be in the formal annual review.

3. Do not shoot the bearer of bad news.
When team members “shoot” the bearer of bad news, not only are they delivering unfair criticism, they are also promoting an atmosphere that discourages openness and honesty. Rather than laying blame, be thankful that the information is being communicated.

4. Focus on solutions.
Getting entangled with the facts usually is a sign that the giver is not prepared. There could also be trust issues present. Effective givers and receivers need to be sure to invest time exploring possible solutions or reasonable courses of action to rectify a problem or prevent a similar situation from arising again.

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