Let your team speak up
Upward communication can be seen as moving information from the lower organizational hierarchy to the higher levels of management.
There is positive and negative upward communication in each organization. Unfortunately, the smaller the organization the more negative communication is fed upwards. Very few people understand the importance of communication and therefore are unable to reap the benefits.
Positive upward communication can be seen as useful and positive information that can be used by top management to base future plans and decisions that will benefit the organization. These will include:
- Productivity reports
- Minutes from meetings
- Workgroup discussions
- Worker suggestions and comments
- Team building exercises (If managed well)
This is the type of communication that can cause serious damage to the organization’s ability to make positive decisions and build strong team morale. It is a great trust breaker and can also leave top management open for victimization claims at the CCMA. These can include:
- Grapevine channel
- “Undercover” longtime employees carrying stories
- Incorrect reporting
- Negative comments from negative people
- Unknown sources from outside the organization
Over the last twenty years, it could be seen that the dynamics of this information changes with the size of the organization. This has been an international trend but South African business started feeling this shift more so over the last fifteen years.
It is also possible that this change is because of the small and medium-size business sector growing. These are normally family run or one-man shows who rely on communication but because of inexperience and trust issues, they thrive (and take a dive) on negative communication.
Due to a serious lack of experience and possibly low ethical or moral standards at the top management level, the shift is more towards the negative communication channel. This can also be seen in bigger organizations and companies but the reasons for this can also be seen as inexperienced and a case of “I know it all”.
Repairing your productivity with communicationTo ensure that positive communication can assist you with running an effective and efficient workforce keep the following basics in mind:
- Put the word out that you only accept positive communication.
- Put communication positive channels in places such as daily reports, workers meetings, and management feedback sessions.
- Punish negative communication by dismissing it openly.
- If there is a need to investigate rumours and gossip investigate it quietly and discreetly without involving the carriers.
- Keep communication channels short and sweet.
- Ensure that everyone has some form of access to a communication process.
- Grow the habit of clear and concise verbal communication as a preferred channel.
"GOOD COMMUNICATION CAN BE USED.
BAD COMMUNICATION CAN BE ABUSED."
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