Communication management is the planning and setting in place of all the daily communication activities that go on in a business – large or small and in all departments. Most people at senior, middle or bottom management know this instinctively, in its most basic form.
However, the creation, implementation, monitoring, revision and adaptation of new channels of communication within an organization are, collectively, what determines success or failure within. Lack of communication management principles can ruin employee morale and, consequently, productivity and profit.
Communication management planning is like project management planning — it is a necessary part of it. It is the lifeblood of business operation at all levels. It is a continuing project of its own taking place below the surface.
Senior executives implement policies, make final decisions, approve major changes, guide operations, synergize the teams, empower others to carry out the policies, yet many don’t take the time to develop communication management working plans. Why not? And how can they do it? By reading, taking courses, listening and by committing to do something about it.
Most problems within an organization are caused by a lack of communication, or bad communication. As I always say, communication is a wide and broad topic. No one can write an article about any of it’s sub-topics in completion. All writings on the subject work together endlessly.
That goes for this topic of communication management too. Where does one begin? Where does one end? For one thing, it begins at the “serving” level of each worker. In an organization, everyone needs to serve the other. But that requires learning. We don’t normally enter a new job with communication management in mind.
It has to be part of the company orientation from day one. It has to be part of the culture, the value, the mission and vision. It has to begin at the top. Have you noticed how many top management executives buy training materials “for the staff” and request “the staff” to attend — but they themselves don’t?
Staff members sit in these sessions, itching that Mr. or Mrs. Executive “could hear this”. Why? Because top management executives have to participate in these practices, along with the rest of the organization. They have to be seen participating. You cannot have one part of the company use communication management and not the other. Top Management is the example, the leader of all implementation and continuation of communication management activities.
The lack of communication management leadership is born out of the old organizational charts, which does not foster the “serving” principle that lifts up each level from top-down in mentorship.
In other words the President serves the executives below him/her; the executives serve the managers below them; the managers serve the assistant/technical people below them and the assistant/technical people serve the support/secretarial personnel. Each level is trained and/or knowledgeable about the job below as much as their own.
Each level becomes a mentor to the one below by delegating and empowering him or her with clear direction and proper information. Empowerment is the ultimate demonstration of trust that management and supervisors can give to their team members.
When jobs and responsibilities are delegated, appropriate empowering is given along with it. I remember a job I took on contract once where the manager I reported to would give me information but not all of it. Her behaviour was not inviting to openness or discussion; her facial expressions turned to annoying or puzzling frowns whenever one asked a question, as if the staff “should know” what had been kept from them.
This hardly points to empowerment. Communication management begins at the level above and ends at the level below. It begins in creation and implementation at the top and ends in completion and fulfilment at the bottom, in a continuous cascade at each level throughout the whole of the organization.