We’re focused on the four characteristics of trustworthy organizational cultures that our research revealed:
Remember that trustworthiness leads to employee engagement which leads to profitability, so these four characteristics are of paramount importance!
Today, our focus is Communication.
One of our leadership coaching clients shared with us the details of what should have been a perfect job. She believed passionately in the mission of the organization, she was well compensated, she had freedom to use her gifts and talents, and she respected and enjoyed her coworkers.
But she had a problem that was leading her to case about for other professional options.
“It’s my supervisor”, she told us. “He expects me to be a mindreader. I mean, this is a competent guy who allows me freedom, but he never, ever talks to me or communicates expectations or even fully discloses new initiatives. I don’t think he is trying to pull anything over on me or play politics, but he just won’t talk. I mean, just talk to me!”.
She is not alone.
Trustworthy organizations and trustworthy leaders communicate with urgency and clarity.
Communication is all about how well the organization does three things:
- Manages information
- Communicates direction
- Clarifies expectations
Every organization needs an internal information manager, whether or not that is their sold job description or just part of it. This person is not the one who knows “where the bodies are buried” but the one who makes sure that those who need to know actually do in fact know.
He is a trusted partner and teammate and the leaders of the organization give him latitude, trust, flexibility, and freedom. He will lead the way with digital employee newsletters, town hall meetings, and other creative forms of internal communication.
Employees and volunteers long for direction, are eager to be led, and want to know where the organization is going and how their efforts will help to get it there. It is this last part – how is what I am doing going to advance our cause? – that is often missing when leaders provide direction.
It’s not enough to say ‘Take that hill’. We have to help each person on the team understand the unique contribution they will make to the hill-taking.
Finally, team members know when they show up each day what they are to do that day and have a clear sense of what they must do to fulfill their assignment and advance the mission of the organization.
This is more, way more, than a to do list. It’s a ‘flight list’ for mission success.
Examine the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and you will see that his tasks often differed from day to day but they were all driven by a sense of intentional mission: “My desire is to do the will of him who sent me”.
Do your team members have a similarly clear sense of direction, expectation, and contribution?
It all starts with the communication prowess and commitment of senior leader.