Effective communication is vital to success in modern business. Without it organisations fail and individuals go astray and become inadvertent saboteurs.
Effective communication involves moral courage, honesty and the ability to give and receive feedback. Meetings that do not involve challenge and two way discussion are ineffective. The information passed may as well have been placed on a noticeboard. And yet all too often leaders waste such opportunities to benefit their organisations and develop their teams as effective communication is often misconstrued as challenging a leader’s authority rather than supporting it.
Leaders have to accept that their ideas and concepts will be challenged if they are to develop and improve those ideas and achieve greater outcomes. If a challenge can be rebuffed by the leader then the concept is strong. If a challenge causes the leader to refine the concept rather than doggedly pursue a failing concept then the concept is improved and the leader better respected for their judgement. So why avoid effective communication? It is only when such challenges become personal that the effect becomes negative in its orientation. If it is depersonalised then either way a challenge is positive.
Followership also requires followers to be prepared to challenge a leaders plans and concepts for the betterment of an outcome. To sit and watch a leader fail or not deliver an outcome in the most effective way is tantamount to negligence and yet how many times have we seen it happen and indeed been involved in it ourselves? Followers just like leaders need to be honest and require the moral courage to challenge their leader’s ideas and plans in order to improve them if they want their organisation to achieve greater things.
Effective communication is a two way street and a street that will only work if it is based in trust. All too often opportunities are missed because of a lack of trust and openness. As humans are naturally competitive and some are more ambitious than others they use information as a source of power and control to the detriment of operational effectiveness. It is is the strong man that knows and exposes his weaknesses and it is the even stronger team that truly works together to ensure their individual vulnerabilities are not exposed. Mutual support ensures that the team is stronger in its completeness than the sum of all the strengths of the individuals who form it. Such a team has to derive its strength, honesty and openness from truly effective communication.