Every organization has a communication culture, one that is shaped and reinforced by the people within the organization, especially the leaders.

In his seminal work On Leadership, John Gardner identifies two key messages critical for healthy communication in organizations.

Two key messages should be implicit:
(1) “You will know what’s going on,” and (2) “Your voice will be heard.”

To feel valued and safe at work, people want to be informed, especially about changes that directly affect them, but also about other things. Information equals power, and it also equals security and a sense of belonging.

But people also need to feel that they have a audience for their thoughts, feelings, and opinions at work. People long to be listened to and to feel that their input is valuable within the organization.

Gardner says that the larger and more complex the organization, the greater the challenge in creating a culture that expresses these two key messages effectively.

Effective leaders incorporate a plan for communication within their organizations. They have a process for sharing important changes and decisions with their employees. They listen to people’s ideas and feedback.

No matter who you are or where you work, you can improve the culture you live in by making sure people know what’s going on. Keep the people around you informed as much as you can. Share what you know. As you do that, take the time to listen to what others think and feel.

Creating a healthy organizational culture can start with you, today.

Join the conversation!

What do you do to keep people informed in your organization?

What do you to to help people feel heard?


This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted with permission.