Content provided by a guest contributor.
One of the great shortcomings of larger businesses is that it is not uncommon for disconnects to occur between management and staff and between the various business units. Small business owners can take a valuable lesson from this.
While the various departments in big businesses are required to liaise with one another, for the most part they operate as separate entities, carrying out day-to-day operations according to their own briefs and set agendas.
Such a splintered organisational structure can often lead to uncertainty about what exactly is required, or indeed whether the guarantees offered by one department can be met by another.
When communication breakdowns occur, frustrations can boil over into visible discontent, with the result that staff morale plummets.
Of course a lack of transparency between management and staff will be felt the hardest. Staffers need to feel they can trust their superiors, just as army grunts would place their lives in the hands of commanding officers.
When managers fail to be open with them, and take immediate steps to alert them to salient information, trust is irreparably broken.
There are many lessons which small business owners can learn from their bigger counterparts. The fact that they will have a smaller team to oversee will put them in a far more advantageous position in terms of better communication. The smaller the outfit, the less chance of lines becoming blurred.
However, even smaller companies can suffer from a lack of transparency at times. Schedules become fraught, and it is very easy to overlook this aspect during these times.
Business owners may wish to send promising staff on leadership courses in order to emphasise the importance of transparency, which will play a vital role as the venture becomes more established.
Advantages of a transparent workplace include:
The most obvious benefit of an open policy is that trust will develop between the various parties.
It is worth noting that studies have shown that many people quit their jobs because they can no longer trust their bosses. Two-faced attitudes undermine staff morale considerably, so it is important that owners and managers don’t hold their cards close to their chest.
Every development affects every employee, whether directly or indirectly. Relaying bad news may not be particularly palatable, but at least staff will appreciate they have been kept abreast
Research by Harvard on the impact of employee engagement on performance showed that “that while most leaders understand the importance of engagement, three-quarters of those surveyed said that most employees in their organisations are not highly engaged.
“A significant gap showed up in the views of executive managers and middle managers in this area. Top executives seemed much more optimistic about the levels of employee engagement in their company, making them seem out of touch with middle management’s sense of their frontline workers’ engagement.”
Simply put, by being transparent such attitudes will be eliminated, making for a happier workforce.
By openly discussing problem areas, everyone can give their two cents on what solutions might be considered.
Two heads are better than one, the saying goes, so when several people are involved in brainstorming sessions, it stands to reason that more good ideas will be generated.
When managers take all the decisions and keep employees in the dark as to their intentions, workers tend to feel less empowered.
*This article is provided by Kwelanga Training which provides on leadership courses to small business owners.