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Poor leadership communication (2)

In part one of this article, we discussed the tell-tale signs that indicate an organization has a communication breakdown, leading to dissatisfaction and ineffectiveness. We further deliberated how an organization’s culture must overcome silos by creating an effective, cross-functional relationship between business units. Today, we will continue discussions on the strategy to be adopted to solve poor leadership communication and how to defeat the silo mentality in your organization.

Except there is an established standard of communication channels, employees will continually plummet into the silo mentality and remain oblivious to the impact of their work on the rest of the organization. Following this perspective, it is suggested that communication channels must not be too restrictive or confined to specific regular channels; instead, leaders must engage in flexible and creative approaches to talking with their people at different levels in different functions. For example, if you are looking for suggestions, create an email box. If you are looking for creativity, stage a pizza party. Invite people to come; the price of admission is a suggestion or a new idea.

On the other hand, if there is a breakdown in communications look for ways to get individuals or teams together. Maybe the best way is a meeting, or perhaps it is a coffee outside of the office. Be willing to experiment. There is no single way to facilitate good communication; the only limit is the power of the leader’s imagination. Also, if that is lacking, ask people to find ways to encourage communication among themselves. This is often the best way to get people to work together”.

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Also, communication is a continuous action step that helps fosters collaborative relationships. Therefore, employees need to understand that their relationships with other business units do not just affect their work or that of their team. Such relationships impact the whole organization in the long run. Units can collaborate when they understand one another’s roles and the different business functions to achieve their goals. They value one another’s input, making for a more efficient workplace. Hence, such relationships build a highly functional and profitable organization.

In considering the approach to defeating the silo mind-set, the strategy to defeat the silo mentality is to set up an ambassador program in organizational settings, using the premise of diplomatic relations between nations of the world where ambassadors or diplomats are sent to live in other countries as representatives. Here, each unit must send a representative to go and sit with another department across the organization for a few days or even a week. This employee then gathers critical insights into the operations of that unit while sharing insight about what their team is working on. He submitted that such cross-pollination could yield innovative solutions or products and improve working relationships across the organization.

The goal of communication is to create a shared reality between message sources and receivers. Leaders in an organization must be seen to epitomize the “shared reality” of defeating communication silos in the organization. Therefore, employees in different teams will not be likely to collaborate and remain in silos unless they see the leaders modelling collaborative behaviour. Company leaders must set the example by demonstrating that they expect cross-functional teamwork and information between their employees. The following ways are recommended for leaders to adopt in their efforts to encourage and support greater collaboration:

Talk about shared goals between teams
Assign a team member or two to keep another team in the loop on a critical project

iii.     Regularly communicate and spend time with leaders of other teams

Recognize and reward individuals who demonstrate collaboration with other teams

Training and retraining employees would make a world of difference to further shift and defeat the silo mind-sets in an organization. Employees must be trained to engage in behaviours that support more teamwork and collaboration. The company must organize team-building exercises, conflict management training, or communication skills courses to help employees learn more about the dangerous effects of silos while assisting them to see the positive benefits of collaboration between teams and provide useful techniques for breaking down silos that negatively impact the whole organization.

In conclusion, Company leaders often deal with several critical issues, and championing change of status quo is never easy and is rarely wanted. However, for an organization to stay innovative and or operationally effective, change is an inevitable reality that must be embraced first by the leadership of the organization and then everyone in the organization.

Therefore, an integrated communication process and or channel is necessary for companies and organizations to adopt and encourage across the entire organization. However, for internal communication to serve a strategic role and ensure that employees are not overlooked, internal communicators need to be treated as equals among their peers in the different business units and at all levels in the organization.

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